Sustainable Shelter Design

California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, 2005 - $18,400

Habitat 21, a sustainable settlements project from the John T. Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies at Cal Poly Pomona, performed a long-range study on improving housing options in impoverished neighborhoods in Tijuana. These neighborhoods are currently served by Corazon, a US nonprofit whose mission is to serve Mexico’s poor through home-building, educational programs, and other community development activities. While Corazon’s home-building program is effective in providing basic shelter for residents of the communities in which they work, their designs rely on imported, non-renewable materials, do not consider heating and cooling needs, and do not address issues that affect quality of life, such as water, sanitation, security, and food production. This E-Team developed prototypes of sustainable housing systems that meet the needs of relief organizations like Corazon as well as local residents.

The team designed and tested prototypes that emphasize materials readily available in Tijuana, technology appropriate for the community’s cultural and economic conditions, and strategies that minimize the use of energy. Specifics include passive heating and cooling technology, affordable food production, security concerns, and clean waste and water systems. The goal of the team was to incorporate shelter, waste management, food production, and security into an integrated operation.