Because bamboo can be social.
BAMBÚ SOCIAL is an educational and construction project with the main goal to share knowledge and expertise about the use of local resources for sustainable and affordable social housing. Building techniques used in subtropical areas are often not adapted to the local environment any more. The materials used in El Rama, Nicaragua create a warm and humid interior climate and are produced with processes that pollute the natural environment. In addition, the local population is dependent on unreliable systems for building, electricity, clean drinking water and food. In El Rama, BAMBÚ SOCIAL set up a ‘Sustainable Construction’ course, together with the local university and the municipality, to create a sustainable and dignified alternative to social housing. This building method can be practiced in a completely local manner, with the integration of a decentralised, low-tech, natural water purification and storage system in order to provide clean drinking water for the inhabitants of the house. The constructed model house is the base for the design of an affordable social home and the manual ‘Un manual de construcción sostenible’, which explains the entire process with step by step drawings. The model house has been donated to the local university and currently functions as a library.
View pictures in the image gallery.
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One of the focal points of the project BAMBÚ SOCIAL consisted of developing a blueprint for affordable and sustainable social housing, which would empower disadvantaged parts of communities in the bamboo belt around the world, to be able to build their own house from the cheaply available local material bamboo. With the design of the house, a decentralised and simple water-collection and purification system is integrated, which means the family is independent from failing centralised water systems. Local social support for the project was created by means of the following activities:
- Clean up campaigns for a desolated communal building in the middle of the city to meet the locals in an informal manner.
- A kick off meeting where the goals of the projects were explained and where more than 100 people from El Rama could discuss with us what they wanted the project to tackle.
- Open interviews with low income families to acquire enough information about the wishes the design of a social house.
- Free workshops about, water filters, basics and possibilities of bamboo construction. All the steps regarding the preparation and execution of the house were made with the students from the sustainable construction course and locals from the communities of Esperanza and El Recreo.
- The approach of local and national media to highlight the importance of the challenges and the possible solutions.