Social housing in Nicaragua: Simplicity with style.
(Originally published in Open House International Vol. 29 No 1 2004 - ISSN 0168-2601, Author: Arq. Kurt Rhyner)
Social Housing in third world countries almos invariabley means uninspired structures lined up in straight rows,, creating monotonous neighborhoods. Only when the inhabitants paint their house and make some enlargements, this begins to change. It is remarkable that such steps towears creating a more varied, more lively, often more beautiful and, ultimately, more humane neighborhood is done without architects, not to say in spite of, or even against the plans of the original designer.
Experiencies: Dual education for masons
In 2005, SofoNic has started a dual education program for masons in Nicaragua, using its house-building programs as a base. Teaming up with the local technical school in Jinotepe they are graduating about ten masons every year since. Most f them have found jobs in construction or have started a business on their own. SofoNic has contracted several of them as master masons in the reconstruction programs in Haiti.
EcoMaterials: MicroConcrete Roof tiles and FerroCement Panels
The EcoSur network presents a short professional video on two major technologies, the Ferrocement panels and the Micro Concrete Roofing Tiles. Filmed in Nicaragua and Salvador, it shows production and application and gives a summary overview of those two materials that have a relatively small ecological footprint and have widely proven to be sustainable in the three classical dimensions ecology, economy and social acceptance.
The film is commented in Spanish with summary English subtitles and invites viewers to ask questions, as all publications of the network are open source.
(English subtitles available in the CC icon)
Rural Hospital in Haiti
The Nicaraguan EcoSur partner “EcoSolutions S.A.” finished the construction of a hospital In Belladère, near the border to the Dominican Republic in February. The Spanish donor “Fondo Andaluz de Municipios para la Solidaridad Internacional” (FAMSI) with cofinancing from UNDP opened a tender in January 2013 based on a provisional design of a rural hospital. EcoSolutions, a company active internationally mainly in post-disaster reconstruction and using “green technologies” won the contract based on the lowest offer.
EcoSur consultancy for Sustainable Social Housing in Mauritius Island
UN-Habitat facilitated a two-days’ workshop giving a wide range of stakeholders including the public sector, NGOs and private building producers a platform to discuss more sustainable ways forward for the social housing sector in Mauritius. The EcoSur network presented a series of technologies and practices to diminish the consumption of cement in the sector.
Ferrocement walls for social housing
In post-disaster reconstruction, EcoSur proposes a stretegy that is opposed to the one used by most foreign aid projects, who concentrated on building so called "transitional shelters" made mostly of imported wood. We are clear, that the really poor have no means of replacing ever their provisional shelter with a good house, the unit made of timber and plywood will eventually become another shack, repaired with whatever they can find... the earthquake reconstruction turns into another slum.
(English subtitles available in the video)