Archive | June, 2011

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The $300 House

Posted on 07 June 2011 by Jerry

There have been over 300 international design submissions in response to a challenge in a blog post on the Harvard Business Review for entrants to design a $300 house for use around the world.  Contestants in the $300 House Open Design Challenge were asked to answer five simple questions with their submission:

  1. How can organic, self-built slums be turned into livable housing?
  2. What might a house-for-the-poor look like?
  3. How can world-class engineering and design capabilities be utilized to solve the problem?
  4. What reverse-innovation lessons might be learned by the participants in such a project?
  5. How could the poor afford to buy this house?

Conceived by Harvard’s Vijay Govindarajan and Christian Sarker with sponsorship by Ingersoll Rand’s Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability, the competition offered winners a share in $25,000 in total prize money which includes $10,000 in cash awards to the top 16 placements as voted by the community itself, and $15,000 in scholarships for six participants to attend a prototyping workshop.  The six selected participants for the workshop (listed by username) were PStouter, iLINES, Rogerio AA, architecturecommons, DVS, and elsap11.

Vijay Govindarajan, Professor of International Business and the Founding Director of Tuck’s Center for Global Leadership, identified that the project is now moving to the next level, prototyping.  The prototyping will begin with a house designed for India, Haiti, and Indonesia.  The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has agreed to send teams of students to Haiti and India to work with groups on the ground to move the project to reality.

Background: In Beyond Animal, Ego and Time, Chapter 9: A Positive Life Experience Imperative, we use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to assess the positive or negative nature of the present life experience, both human and animal, on our planet.  Affordable housing for the world’s poorest peoples would significantly improve the present life experience.  The creativity and insight of the $300 House project moves humanity’s focus to an area that would make a significant difference.

For more information see  Of particular interest at this site is a list of resources for further study.  I highly recommend three articles and posts under Resources that are of particular interest.  They were very informative and thought provoking:

Beyond Greening: Strategies for a Sustainable World, Stuart L. Hart, see:

The Shape of the Meaning Organization, Umair Haque, see: _shape_of_the_meaning_organ.html

The Betterness Manifesto, Umair Haque, see: _betterness_manifesto.html

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