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Posts Tagged ‘amsterdam’

When homes are destroyed in disaster zones, the Mobile Factory can turn the rubble into Lego-like building blocks to create new housing. They snap together without mortar.

Stella Dawson of the Thomson Reuters Foundation writes, “In Amsterdam a mobile factory, the size of two shipping containers, ingests rubble at one end, liquifies it into cement, and spurts out Lego-shaped building blocks.

“Call it rubble for the people, converting the deadly debris from disasters into homes and hospitals, cheaply and quickly.

“It’s the brainchild of Gerard Steijn, a 71-year-old sustainable development consultant turned social entrepreneur, who leads the Netherlands-based project to recycle the rubble from natural disasters and wars.

“He plans to create ecologically sound and safe housing by producing 750 building blocks a day from the debris, enough for one home at a cost of less than $20,000 each.

” ‘In disasters, you have piles and piles of rubble, and the rubble is waste. If you are rich, you buy more bricks and rebuild your home,’ Steijn said in a telephone interview.

‘But what happens if you are poor? In disasters it is the poorest people who live in the weakest houses and they loose their homes first. I thought, what if you recycled the rubble to build back better homes for poor people?’

“His rubble-busting Mobile Factory has fired the imagination of a landowner in Haiti and a civil engineer at the University of Delft. They have joined forces to test Steijn’s idea and build the first rubble community in Port au Prince next year. …

“Unskilled people can build the homes with the blocks, which meet demanding Dutch construction standards to ensure they will last for many years. [Hennes de Ridder, an engineering professor at the University of Delft,] expects further stress tests he planned for Peru in a few months will show the homes can withstand temblors of at least 6 on the Richter scale.” Read more here.

Photo: The Mobile Factory
Model homes built from cement rubble are on display at an industrial park in Amsterdam. The brightly painted homes are designed for disaster zones, using technology that creates Lego-style building blocks from cement rubble.

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New online services make it easy to borrow things you need temporarily but don’t want to buy.

Janet Morrissey writes at the NY Times, “When vandals broke into Stephanie Ciancio’s Land Cruiser in 2014 and stole her car stereo, she did not have the time and money to replace it. It was particularly vexing for Ms. Ciancio, a 34-year-old San Francisco resident, because she had been planning to take a four-day road trip to Fern Canyon, Calif., over the long July 4 weekend, and the idea of making the eight-hour drive without music was depressing.

“So she logged onto Peerby.com, typed in her predicament, and within 40 minutes was connected with someone willing to lend her a Beats wireless Bluetooth speaker for her car trip.” She was thrilled.

Peerby founder Daan Weddepohl, Morrissey contintues, “was born in Rotterdam in 1980 and developed a passion for computers and programming at a young age. ‘I asked for a compiler for my 13th birthday,’ he said.

“He pored over books and joined online bulletin boards to hone his programming skills. His parents, both psychiatrists, encouraged his entrepreneurial spirit and interest in technology. But it was a fire that ignited the Peerby dream.

“In February 2009, fire ripped through Mr. Weddepohl’s apartment building, … Most of Mr. Weddepohl’s belongings were destroyed by fire, water or smoke.

“He was devastated. But in the months after, Mr. Weddepohl watched in amazement as friends — and even strangers — offered furniture, tools and other items to help him get back on his feet. It was a revelation. “’ discovered that the people around me were so much more important than the stuff,’ he said. ‘People love to help other people out — we’re wired to help others.’ ”

Read how the Peerby concept grew from the ashes, here.

I blogged earlier this year about this concept. You can read “Borrowing Gadgets you Need Only Once,” here.

Photo:Jason Henry for The New York Times
Stephanie Ciancio was able to borrow a wireless Bluetooth speaker from Matt Dodge through an online service called Peerby.com. 

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