In California, the median home price is over $600,000, pricing many people out of the market. Housing issues are far from exclusive to overpriced states in the US. In fact, lack of affordable housing is rampant all around the world.
In Manila, people are being priced out of the slums – leading to serious issues with sanitation and homelessness. Meet Earl Patrick Forlales, a 23-year-old from the Philippines who has a plan to fix the problem.
The engineering graduate was inspired to help solve the housing crisis in his country. When he heard about a competition to create sustainable and cost-effective housing, he went to work.
Forlales invented a cheap home made out of bamboo that can be constructed in just 24 hours and costs as little as $64 to bring to life. He calls it “CUBO” housing.
“The world’s cities are growing all the time and there is a real need to make sure they are safe, clean and comfortable places to live for future generations,” said the competition’s head judge John Hughes.
As Forlales formulated a plan, he studied the design of his grandparent’s bamboo cabin located on the outskirts of Manila. After much careful thought and planning, he designed an impressive home made out of bamboo with many smart features that make it truly sustainable.
CUBO homes are better for the environment, and only cost $64 (£50) to construct. By Forlales’ estimates, a CUBO home could rent for as little as $0.27 (.20£) per person per day.
Bamboo is cheap and it’s better for the environment than traditional wood or brick homes.
Bamboo is a fast-growing plant that releases 35 percent more oxygen into the atmosphere than wood trees. Plus, it does not cause soil degradation.
While many people submitted incredible ideas to the competition, Forlales’ submission stood out as a viable solution to the “world’s growing slum problem.”
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for the Cities for Our Future Competition awarded Forlales with the grand prize, which included $64,000. Forlales plans to use this money to begin constructing CUBO housing this year in 2019.
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs predicts there will be around 10 billion people in the world by the year 2050, 70 percent of which will live in urban cities.
Without new measures in place to tackle our current housing shortage, problems will balloon out of control and cause unimaginable inflation.
Thanks to smart and innovative minds like Forlales, there’s hope for the future.
“As we look at our entrants, who are our next generation of leaders, I believe that real progress will be made in tackling the world’s biggest issues,” Hughes said.
In Manila, “even poorly serviced, low quality housing” is unaffordable to people.
Bamboo offers a solution because it is a cheaper material that is easier to produce than traditional building materials. The bamboo can be locally sourced and is in great abundance in the area.
It can be used to “quickly construct a dignified and well sized home, 4 hours within the installation team arriving on site.”
The young engineer thought of everything – including the addition of space between the roof and ceiling to reduce heat gain.
He designed the roof on a slant so that rainwater flows off the roof and into rainwater collection basins.
By placing the window on the opposite wall of the door, the home maintains good cross-ventilation.
Since floodwaters are common in Manila, the home is built on an elevation to prevent flooding.
CUBO homes can be built in close proximity to one another with communal kitchens and bathrooms at the center. This will offer greater convenience, sanitation, and affordability. In addition, this will create a stronger sense of community amongst locals.
In the future, CUBO is be a viable addition for areas in Asia, LATAM and Africa.
Renting each unit for around 27 cents per day, each home would turn profitable within 5.1 years. Therefore, benefiting people who could otherwise not afford housing, as well as the developers who invest in building these homes.
Existing housing in Manila is far more expensive than this.
“Engineered bamboo is here and it’s going to stay. We know how to work the material and we can build our future cities around it,” said Forlales.