UK Architect Aims to Bring Eco-Homes to Nigerian Slum



shibata prototypeIsona Shibata, an architect and development practitioner from the UK, is seeking funding to develop a prototype for an eco-alternative housing solution for residents in the Galadimawa Slum, situated just outside of Abuja, Nigeria. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and upwards of 70% of its 177 million residents lives below the poverty line. As Nigeria grows, so do the slums that form on the periphery of its leading cities. The country is enduring a housing crisis, particularly in urban slums. Eco-homes are growing in popularity as low-cost alternatives to traditional shacks and they can provide a slum-dwellers a more sustainable, healthy, and safe place to live.

Shibata’s eco-home project is to be situated in the slums of Galadimawa, which is a community of roughly 70,000 people. Shelters in the slum typically house 3 – 7 people in a single room of only 3×3 metres. The homes do not have electricity or a water supply. They are lit with batteries and generators, which they also use to power fans for air circulation, given that each home has only one tiny window. Residents make use of communal pit latrines.

Tshibata passive coolinghe eco-home is designed to equip a 10×10 metre space with separate areas for a toilet and shower, and a cooking and living space. There will also be stairs going up to the roof area, which is meant for sleeping. Bamboo poles, a material known for its versatility and weather resilience, will support the roof. The roof space is protected from rainfall and insects, and will be equipped with wide eaves that will collect rainwater and pass it through a sand filtration system so that each eco-home has its own supply of filtered drinking water.

The shelter will also have large windows to provide light and facilitate air flow in a method known as passive cooling. The eco-home will make use of locally available materials, thereby cutting costs and reducing the environmental impacts associated with transporting building materials. The walls will be made with rammed earth, which is recycled from a nearby construction site. Rammed earth, as an alternative to concrete, is a much more sustainable material and its manufacture produces far less environmental impact than the production of concrete. The walls will be roughly a half-metre thick and their composition helps to facilitate heat and humidity regulation within the dwelling. Packed earth is also far cheaper to produce than concrete and the forms or templates that will initially be constructed are reusable, meaning that future production of more eco-homes will be cheaper than the initial start-up.

shibata floor planIsona Shibata has been working on architecture and community development projects in the Delta region for the last three years and has developed working relationships with a number of local companies and workers in the area. She has also contributed to a number of slum-upgrading projects in various locales in West Africa that have been funded by Amnesty International, Comic Relief and the World Bank.

Shibata is appealing to the public to help fund the development of a prototype of this eco-home, ideally in time to present it to delegates at an international conference on Housing for the Urban Poor, which is being held at the African University of Science and Technology this August. The Community Chairman of Galadimawa has already offered up the land upon which to construct the eco-home prototype, but funds are still needed to build it. Shibata has successfully raised £2,458 of her £6,000 goal to date.

Donations in support of the project will be accepted until June 22nd, 2014, and can be made through Kickstarter here.

Innovate Development has been following examples of sustainable, alternative housing innovations, which can be built in slums like Shibata’s project or in humanitarian emergency situations. Learn more about exciting new designs here.

Sarah Anstett

Sarah Anstett

Sarah is a writer, researcher, and development practitioner currently based in Toronto, Canada.

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