polis: a collective blog about cities worldwide

Open Source Urban Design

by Anna Fogel

Open source design — whether for entire cities, particular neighborhoods or individual houses — is becoming increasingly popular and feasible. Cristiana Strava's recent article on WikiHouse addresses the revolutionary potential of open source housing design "by the 99% for the 99%."

Another interesting open source design model has been introduced by Enviu, a Dutch company that created the Open Source House Competition. The competition called for designs for "a sustainable, flexible and locally embedded one-family house to be built in Ghana." The response was so impressive — 3,100 architects from 45 countries — that Enviu created a promising follow-up project called INURBA, which will move beyond housing to create sustainable communities by providing services such as infrastructure and access to finance. Enviu plans to pilot INURBA in Nicaragua and Ghana.

It will be interesting to see, as INURBA plans its first projects, how they will continue to incorporate theories of open source housing as they design new communities around the world. For more information, see a recent interview with Rick Holt, CEO of INURBA, in Upsides Magazine.

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