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Take a look at the vision for the world’s first 3D-printed neighborhood

Housing nonprofit New Story is completing plans to 3D print houses in the developing world. Here’s what they could look like.

Take a look at the vision for the world’s first 3D-printed neighborhood

This summer, massive 3D printers will begin building homes in the world’s first community of its kind–designed not for the usual early adopters of technology but for some of the world’s poorest people, who currently live without safe shelter in Latin America. New Story, the nonprofit behind the new neighborhood, released a new video today that shows renderings of the layout of the homes, which were designed in collaboration with the local community and Yves Béhar’s Fuseproject.

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The frame of the small houses, which can be configured to accommodate different family sizes, can be 3D printed in less than a day. It’s a way both to tackle the problem of housing more quickly–more than a billion people currently live without safe shelter, according to the nonprofit–and at a lower cost than traditional building. New Story says that the houses will be more affordable than the standard low-cost homes it currently builds in the developing world, which cost around $7,000. The designs, as the video shows, will be filled with light and architectural details (though it remains to be seen how they look in practice, not just in a promotional video). In a previous interview with Fast Company, New Story cofounder Alexandria Lafci explained why design is so important:

Very often we as a society are willing to accept ‘less than’ for this type of population: ‘less than’ in quality, ‘less than’ for innovation, ‘less than’ great design, ‘less than’ for the input that families are able to have in their solution. Even when populations are seemingly vulnerable, or seemingly will accept whatever is given, that’s not an excuse to not really push to have the highest quality of whoever you’re working with.

Similar designs could also help bring more affordable housing to the U.S. Icon, the Austin-based startup that created the 3D home printer used in the project, also plans to work domestically.

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About the author

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world's largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley.

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