Jamaica’s poor are experiencing a housing crisis. 60% of Jamaican urban dwellers live in slum conditions. Jamaica’s rural dwellers, 53% of Jamaica’s population that live with housing issues that are often not documented, are more susceptible to natural disasters than their urban counterparts.
House The World wants to utilize Jamaica’s well-connected and internet-savvy population to help solve the Jamaican housing crisis. Jamaicans have a higher cell phone use per capita than the United States and 57% of Jamaicans are connected to the Internet.
The House The World plan uses modern technology to collect data on housing issues in both rural and urban areas of Jamaica. This data is collected through a process called crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is taking a task and outsourcing it to an undefined, large group of people in the form of an open call. House The World will send out an open call to the Jamaican people to report housing issues. Reports can be made via Twitter, text messaging, email, phone, and through an online form. The data is collected and filtered using software and then volunteers place the reported issues on a map. Such technology was used in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake to locate survivors, and it was recognized by FEMA to be the most up-to-date and accurate map of the disaster area. The created map allows NPOs, Jamaicans, and the local government to visualize and quantify the frequency and distribution of the existing housing issues. Through crowdsourcing, House The World believes it can produce an accurate map of the housing issues in Jamaica.
House The World is using an open development process to create regionally, economically, and culturally, specific housing solutions for those living in substandard housing conditions in Jamaica.
The open development process was used to create Wikipedia, which is the world’s largest and most comprehensive up-to-date encyclopedia. Originally the term “open source” arose from computer software development where the software code would be “open” for anyone to see and use. House The World has applied this concept of openness to create and design housing solutions. This open development process fosters a community of idea sharing and collaboration between engineers, architects, and enthusiasts throughout the world.
The initial House The World model uses a combination of two of the following building technologies: earth bags and shipping containers. Earth bags are soil filled bags that are increasingly being used for home construction.
When building with earth bags, the size of the home can be cheaply expanded from the original structure. Also, earth bag structures can be constructed quickly, usually in less than a week, while utilizing local labor and materials. Most importantly, they are extremely resistant to hurricanes, tropical storms, and other natural disasters.
Shipping containers are reusable-corrugated-steel boxes used for international shipping. These extremely durable containers range in size and can withstand the harsh conditions during intercontinental sea voyages. Using these containers for housing solutions provides an inexpensive housing solution that is resistant to natural disasters.
The plans and models that are created through the House The World’s open development process are open and accessible at no cost.
By implementing crowdsourcing and an open-development process, House The World will regularly identify housing problems and improve the current Jamaican housing design by utilizing the talents engineers, architects and other building professionals throughout the world. The end result, is the best possible housing structure and solution for the Jamaican people.
The following documents are various materials related specifically to the Jamaican project. Please check back with this page frequently to stay updated on the progress of the project.
Jamaican Housing Plans
r | one studio architecture has provided House The World with floor plans and CAD renderings will soon follow for the initial Jamaican model. You can read more about r | one studio here.
Jamaican Housing Map
We are still working on the Jamaican housing map to document housing issues. However, below is a screen shot that lets you see how the map is coming together. If you would like to help us pre-launch to add data and filter reports for the Jamaica Housing Map email Bryan.Bartels@housetheworld.org.