Jeff Wilson, above, the chief executive of Kasita, inside a prototype. The company is working to produce affordable, modular housing in cities.
Homes you can print, transport on the back of a truck, even fly. Although they sound like the homes of science fiction, they might well be the real residences of the not-too-distant future.
Impelled by the pressures of climate change and population growth and shaped by the promise of technologies like 3-D printing, a revolution is brewing in the future of home-building around the globe — especially in cities.
As Earth’s inhabitants, we need to rethink almost everything about the way we live, especially in coastal cities, because our world may be reshaped by rising oceans in ways we can’t yet fully anticipate, according to Hans-Peter Plag, a professor and director of the Mitigation and Adaptation Research Institute at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.
“We have built with the design principle that sea level is not going to change,” he said. “This time has come to an end. On the other hand, living in the coastal zone is extremely important for us. So we need to find a way to live in the coastal zone, but we cannot assume that sea level is stable.”
Complicating the problem of a shrinking landmass is the prediction that the human population will bloom to almost 10 billion people by 2050. And while many cities in the world will have to cope with extraordinary growth, others will have to prepare for shifting migration patterns that could leave them virtually deserted. “Look at what happens when cities shrink,” says Cindy Frewen, an architect, urban futurist and adjunct professor at the University of Houston Foresight Graduate Program. “It’s not pretty. Look at Detroit.”
As a quarter of its population drained out of the city from 2000 to 2010, tens of thousands of buildings became hazards instead of homes.Read More…