the $300 house

Victo Ngai

In Hands Off Our Houses Matias Echanove and Rahul Srivastava offer a critique of the The $300 house international competition. Their basic position emphasizes the fallacy of a scale and standardization versus small, incremental and flexible, position.

They write, “The $300 house could potentially be a success story, if it was understood as a straightforward business proposal instead of a social solution. Places like refugee camps, where many people need shelter for short periods, could use such cheap, well-built units. A market for them could perhaps be created in rural-urban fringes that are less built up. The $300 house responds to our misconceptions more than to real needs. Of course problems do exist in urban India. Many people live without toilets or running water. Hot and unhealthy asbestos-cement sheets cover millions of roofs. Makeshift homes often flood during monsoons. But replacing individual, incrementally built houses with a ready-made solution would do more harm than good.


One thought on “the $300 house

  1. This is a great topic. I’d like to read more about how and when it is envisaged that poor people who currently live in slum / shack housing will be able to make a decent enough living to purchase or rent decent housing with heat, toilets, running water, etc. Income seems to be the greatest barrier to better housing and living conditions. This book may be of interest to you (I haven’t purchased it yet).

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