Incremental Design to Address Housing Inequality

Basically every nation has basic housing problems that need to be addressed. Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena won this year’s Pritzker Architecture Prize because of his work on community housing. It wasn’t just the buildings that got him the prize, it’s the fact that he and his team worked with locals to bring change to the community in a new way. Instead of centralized planning, they went with talking to the the people who lived in the community housing and brought positive change to the structures incrementally.

Thailand’s Baan Mankong Program also offers lessons in incremental housing through a decentralized, community-led process. Launched in 2003 by the Community Organizations Development Institute (CODI), the program directs small but flexible government subsidies and loans to community-level lending and savings groups, with a strong emphasis on an inclusive, collective process. Receiving input from all members of the community, these resident-led groups decide how they’d like to invest the money—from reconstructing or upgrading individual homes to reblocking or relocating entire neighborhoods. Additionally, the Baan Mankong Program provides technical and financial support from government staff, community architects and planners where needed, enabling residents to address complex tenure security needs, land redistribution, housing improvements, service delivery and more.

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Thanks to Delaney!

Another Algae Find for Biofuel

Researchers in Thailand have found another species of algae that is a promising biofuel. This of course, should come to no surprise to regular Things Are Good readers because I love how algae will save us all, just look at all these good news algae posts.

Dr Leesing is confident that the algae can be effectively farmed for industrial biodiesel production as early as next April. She was also keen to stress that a KKU-S2 facility would not require much space. Quoting statistics from the US, she estimated that up to 136,900 litres of oil per hectare could be produced from the small green algae, compared with only 172 litres from corn.

The discovery is likely to prove of interest to producers looking for alternatives to biodiesel produced from food-based sources such as corn or soy, which have been criticised for their contribution to global food shortages, as well their negative impact on local biodiversity.

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