How printing Houses could help the African Economy
Looking at homelessness in Africa, one will find that the numbers of displaced and homeless individuals are in the millions. According to numbers reported on homlesswordcup, the numbers average 40,000 or more for the larger sectors of the continent with Egypt having more than 15million people living in slums. And while the allocation of housing funds from various organizations around the globe has helped to slow the progression of homelessness, there is still a great deal of work to do. Innovative solutions are needed, such as 3D Printed houses. While 3D printed houses are cutting edge technology and would require outsourcing the construction, the benefits on the economy would be substantial.
Bringing 3D Printed Houses is cheap
Early this year, Apis Cor was able to create the first completely functional residential house from a 3D print. The 3d printer constructed the house in 24 hours under harsh weather conditions. The test proved that an economical solution to housing and construction is available. Estimated at $10,000 per residence, the ability to create multiple houses in a short span of time is a realistic goal. This would equivalate to 130k South African Rand per house. When considering that $7 billion was dedicated by the US to help Power Africa, even a fraction of a donation to African Housing would provide substantial relief for the homelessness in the country.
3D Printing would boost the economy
Africa has a high import and export business. Should the country acquire the means of printing the various components for homes, such as China has done with their 3D Printer, the segments could potentially be exported to other countries. Housing and construction could then, in turn, become a business not restricted to local developers but could become economic and competitive on the global scale. As the 3D printers can be set to develop concrete sections, plastics, metals, and recycled polymers, it would be easy for Africa to adhere to the standards of construction for any country willing to engage in the import and export of building section components.
As a secondary boost to the economy, as the building sector would be more prone to growth from the 3D building, communities overall economic value would increase. African slums could quickly be “flipped” into areas of growth and commerce. Due to the need for designers and engineers, education, especially in electronics, 3D Drafting, and in 3D printing technology, would increase.
A place to start
While the technology for the 3D printed house is already developed, the templates for these houses are relatively few. The prime reason for this is that the architectural plans available for 3D printing are more to the traditional standards than to those focused on the newer printing technologies. Though a bit problematic, there are a few sources, such as CGTrader and other 3D model platforms which have artists who are geared to providing models and content suitable for such technology. Additionally, as the market and the demand for such models increases, developers in Africa will find that they can easily acquire various layouts for 3D Printing.
African housing development should seek to find layouts which would decrease the estimated $10,000 price tag while at the same time not decrease the materials and the structure of the home. Since the house is one solid piece, open layouts or one room residential plans may minimize the overall cost. Regardless, the templates, technology, and availability of these homes pose a massive solution to the massive homelessness of Africa.
How can the government use 3D Printed Houses
Since the government already has plans implemented to provide housing, citizens need to make the country understand that 3D Printed houses provide a higher ROI. First, the cost for the development of the houses is low compared to traditional material and labor costs. Secondly, the structures are more sound as they are one piece. This minimizes any structural integrity issues which may arise. Third, the ability to mass produce houses in days, not years, allows for projected targets to be exceeded. Finally, should the government wish to seek funding for the housing project, all which would be needed would be to produce sectional prints and import and export those sections to countries in demand for quick and affordable housing.
Instead of focusing on creating thousands of houses using millions of dollars over the course of 5 to 10 years, why not orient our goals to creating millions of houses for thousands of dollars over the course of a year or less? The technology is there, the funds are available, all that remains is dedication, a reasonable timeline, and the execution of the plan. What is there to lose? Only the grave number of homeless people in Africa.