Technology and Sustainability – Keeping the Eye on the Prize

Photo by EBKauai

What good is a sustainable technology if it isn’t useful to the people in need? This article from Heifer International discusses the rise in technology in the developing world — the advances that have stuck, and those that have not.

The article outlines the great advancements in technology in recent history, in particular the transition from weak land lines to cell phones in Africa. The author goes on to discuss the importance of ingenuity and creativity by those with the skills to create in areas with few technological resources. Finally, he discusses the problems that Westerners may bring to such areas — in particular, the problem with creating solutions for problems that don’t exist.

The goal of the Shelters for All project is to build sustainable housing for those in need. Let’s be sure to attempt to ask ourselves what problems the potential users could have, not the problems we envision they have.


Building Pods – The Wave of the Future?

i09 reports a new design for housing that is efficient to build.

The Elkinoid Project looks for designs of housing for the future, such as for a time when unskilled individuals need to build housing quickly. They report that each pod can house three to four individuals and last around 100 years. Better yet, the housing is recyclable.

Are pods the future? What do you think will be the sustainable housing of the future. 6 more days to submit your ideas at!

Kenya Railways Update Leads to New Housing

File Photo from the Business Daily Africa

In Kenya, an update to the railway system provides for the relocation of thousands of people to protect their safety. Because of the location of the train — only a few meters from the nearby dwellings — the trains must slow to a creeping speed to protect the people living nearby.

The Kenya Railways upgrade includes the creation of 3,129 single-roomed houses, 1490 of which will include a kitchen, sleeping area, and toilet on the upper floor and trading stalls below. The units will be connected to water and power.

Check out the article here. If you have another great idea for sustainable urban housing, consider submitting the proposal for a chance at over $15,000 (USD) in prizes at

You can be the one to change their future!

Did you know that one in seven people in the world live in urban slums? They need your help.

The University of Notre Dame’s project Open Sourcing the Design of Civil Infrastructure invites you to submit a proposal to the Shelters for All Competition.  We’re seeking innovative, creative ideas to develop resilient, feasible, sustainable, viable and scalable housing that can withstand anything from hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones, or earthquakes to heavy rains and flooding.

Individuals or teams are invited to develop and submit conceptual designs for redesigning urban housing worldwide. Winning designs will be awarded over $15,000 (USD) in prizes and those designs have the opportunity to be implemented in ongoing development projects through the University of Notre Dame. This competition is part of a larger project examining how the wisdom of the crowds can be harnessed to aid global social problems.

For more information, check out our website, facebook account, or twitter feed. Email us at

Shelters For All — Almost Ready!

Photo by Ellen Childs

This competition is seeking innovative solutions to the urban housing crisis in the developing world. We invite individuals or teams to develop and submit conceptual designs for homes that address the needs and constraints of over 1 billion people that live in urban slums worldwide. Winning designs will be awarded over $15,000 in prizes and the opportunity to implement ideas into ongoing development projects through the University of Notre Dame. Contributions will also help in understanding how the wisdom of crowds can be used to aid broad social problems.

We here at the Shelters For All Team are working to get the website ( ready for Monday, November 15