Land and Infrastructure
Governments are generally the custodians of land and its beneficial use for its citizens. In spite of population growth there is abundant land throughout the world to provide housing for all; and the desire to achieve this is demonstrated by the example of the present constitution of South Africa which makes it a right for every citizen to have an adequate house in which to live.
However, difficulty in providing electric power and clean water, especially in developing nations, make creation of new communities painfully slow and unable to keep up with demand. In addition, financing the cost of central power plants and water supply is difficult, especially since capable utility companies are scarce and over-burdened, and are often reluctant to float financial instruments when faced with the potential difficulties of collecting utility bills.
Mesocore is a solution because it can generate new communities where no central infrastructure exists; only land and a road is required. And finance can be adsorbed directly by the home owner, ultimately creating wealth where nothing formerly existed. UN Habitat has repeatedly emphasized that a house builds wealth and may be the single most important asset to break the poverty trap. In fact, it is often a central goal of expanding nations for governments to loan the land and the help needed to build a basic but adequate house, and receive revenue from taxes in future years; reinvesting and enabling this cycle to be continued again and again.
Delivery and Inventory
Since its inception in 1954, the cargo container and intermodal shipping have revolutionized the delivery of goods around the world, and as a container, Mesocore can easily be transported from anywhere, to anywhere on earth, capturing critical manufacturing volumes at start-up factories. Although this fact is generally taken for granted for most goods, it is of significance in the affordable housing market.
A Mesocore home, as a single 20 foot container, is the first home that can be stockpiled for inventory. It can be shipped immediately, in large quantities, for emergency replacement homes or for priority development projects. But most important is the fact that this stockpiling enables manufacturing assembly lines to run continuously, achieving here to for unrealizable cost reductions, quality and availability of houses. With worldwide demand for affordable homes being some 5 million per year (UN estimates), many factories and assembly lines can be supported. In fact regional manufacturing facilities will further improve efficiency.
No other housing product can claim this advantage!
More people now live in urban areas than in rural zones, and this trend is continuing. But it is a myth that urban means high rise, multi-story, multi-family buildings. People are moving into urban areas for the advantages of public transportation, walking to schools, churches and markets, community interaction and closeness to friends and extended families and educational or job opportunities. The fact is that these advantages occur at densities above 5000 people per square kilometer as in Brooklyn, New York, 12,000 people per square kilometer and Paris, France at 20,000, and Hong Kong at 6,000; while overcrowding such as found in Manila, Philippines, 43,000 people per square kilometer, and Delhi, India, at 29,000 is not considered desirable.
Mesocore units can be placed on lots as small as 15×15 meters (approximately 50 feet square or 2500 square feet) which would allow for 12 units, either a one family or a side-by-side duplex, per acre, utilizing 70% for residential lots and 30% for roads. The resulting density would be about 15,000 people per square kilometer at only 65% of the land for residential, and 35% for non-residential uses, such as schools, parks and markets.
A study by www.arifhasan.org also on www.urbandensity.org states that “compact individual houses on small plots can comfortably match density of high rise apartments” and goes on to say that high rise living causes social problems and that such residents become poorer, often destitute. Many lower income people can only adjust to ground floor living.
In establishing the cost of new communities, planners must figure present day value of off-grid Mesocore development, not only for its savings to the owner, i.e. no utility bills, but also money and time of not needing to building central water and power plants, distribution and ongoing administration and maintenance. Such infrastructure can equal the cost of the house itself. Depending on the land program, ‘sweat equity’ and the multi-generational use of a permanent Mesocore home, the cost to developing nations could almost be insignificant for the benefits to its’ citizens.
Architecture and Community
At the turn of the 18th century, Goethe calls “Architecture frozen music”, however today nearly everyone can afford music, but the cost of significant Architecture reserves it for iconic structures, as it should be. Such structures, or ‘Nations’ jewelry’, need an appropriate density and a city fabric, to warrant the need and to act as a backdrop to its design and importance. This successful fabric should be a blend of common buildings, none of which stand out, but all of which conform to the community’s unique style of living and design.
The basic Mesocore house is by necessity a one story residential structure, collecting rainwater and solar energy for its owners. It does not portend to be anything more than part of the city fabric, however it can, indeed should, reflect the nation and community design parameters. Certain variations of shape, color, wall art, window and door treatment, landscape and hard scape, accessory buildings and site orientations can provide thousands of different styles and interesting streetscapes. Mesocore would like to work with leaders to develop a unique vernacular for individualizing your community developments.
Local Job Growth
Mesocore homes are designed for on-site work to be completed by local labor from unskilled workers who can be easily trained. No specialty trades such as plumbing, electric or solar are needed, and the balance of the work is simple lift and place operations of supplied prefabricated parts, with no measuring needed. Sweat equity can be provided by owners, and neighbors, friends and family can all take part in the construction of the site built part of the house. Four persons need about 3 weeks to complete the local assembly of the house.
Additional jobs are created in the local manufacture of materials, such as concrete, bricks, patio pavers, roads and landscape work. If regional or national demand reach volume that can support a local factory, and other elements such as raw material supply and financing are available, Mesocore, LLC would discuss a technology transfer. In addition, primary suppliers such as steel mills, solar equipment suppliers, and building products manufacturers who are interested in expanding market share into manufactured housing that can be shipped worldwide can make synergistic partners. Please contact us for additional thoughts on licensing agreements.
From California, to Ethiopia to Indonesia to Sydney, Australia clean water is and will become more difficult and expensive to obtain. Some one billion people have no access to clean water, they spend up to five hours a day to carry it and then it is often dirty and contaminated and have no way to clean it. Two billion people have no safe way to dispose of human waste water, defecating in fields near the same rivers they drink from, and over 3 million people die each year from contaminated water. Any solution to provide housing for developing nations or water challenged areas must address water collection and usage. Mesocore’s 2000 gallon storage, rainwater collection and purification may not solve every water situation, but will be well received by the billions of people who have struggled to secure clean water. Mesocore can also supply workable septic systems; wastewater for 12 Mesocore units per acre can be accommodated by septic systems because of the limited amount of water introduced, excess water being the prime reason for septic failure.
Solar generated electric power from photovoltaic panels has been around since the mid 1950’s and their efficiency has tripled while cost has dropped below $1 per watt. Although it is still difficult to retrofit a home whose energy demand was never planned to be efficient, the time has come to use this simple, clean renewable energy as the primary power supply for new efficient owner managed homes like Mesocore, throughout the world.
The Mesocore “core” is the footprint of the 20 foot container, roughly 8 feet wide by 20 feet long, supporting the upper cistern only at the four corners, with the 2foot deep mechanical room at one end. As such there are many alternative designs which can be incorporated at the factory within the core, and with the expansion to a 1000 foot building many specialty uses can be accommodated.
Schools, clinics, worker housing, and community centers are just some uses. Clusters of units can be arranged to enclose larger spaces, with tent like roofs. To read more on community center and development click here or contact us for more information.