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CAN THE GLOBAL HOUSING PROBLEM BE SOLVED?
Can business address this need?

The most severe housing need corresponds with the most severe poverty and least income. While there are a lot of people who need housing, those with the most severe need, over 2 billion, donít have much money. 2.8 billion people live on less than $2/day. 1.2 billion live on less than $1/day. If they donít have money then they canít buy housing. Which means we canít sell it to them. So they arenít a market. Therefore: practical economic conditions mean that the poor of the world cannot be housed. The problem is unsolvable.

I think this is a rather natural and conventional analysis. It reminds me of the engineers who calculated a hummingbird canít fly.

Is it true? And does this mean that private enterprise is irrelevant to this problem? That is the question and the challenge to companies like Corning. Should private enterprise ignore the problem? Is the problem irrelevant to private enterprise?                                                     

Should everyone have decent housing?

How can they get it?

Can everyone have decent housing?

If you ask Groundwork Institute if the fact that these people have no money means that they canít get housing, our answer is no

 
I remember as a kid being aware of poverty  and unemployment.  I couldnít understand how it could be that people who needed food and money the same as you and I, and who were willing to work couldnít work.  If they were willing to work it didnít make sense to me that they couldnít.  And it still doesnít. 
 
At Groundwork we looked at housing with somewhat the same question.  If we are agreed that it would be desirable for everyone in the world to be living in decent housing, then can it be done?  What is the basic situation?  What do we have to work with?  We have this place called earth.  Itís got some stuff on it, some trees, some rocks, some dirt.  Itís got some people, some poor and uneducated, some without a decent place to live.  Is it possible for them to all have a good place to live?  We want to know if they can have a good life in other ways as well, but our question now is about housing; Can these poor people, with the raw untouched stuff in their part of the planet, make good housing for themselves?  Can they do it by and large themselves without a lot of external input?  We set out to see if it could be done.

Northern mountains of Nicaragua

We went to one particular place that had most of the problems the world faces regarding housing.  This was in the northern mountains of Nicaragua.  We met the people, surveyed the place for resources, saw what was there materially, what was the local culture, knowledge, tradition, what money did they have, who were the people, what was the land like.  What were their capabilities in labor: what skills did they have, how much time could they allocate?
 
We found stuff to make our houses.

 

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