Inverse Infrastructures : Coordination in self-organizing Systems.(120kb PDF, Delft University of Terchnology, The Netherlands; Authors T.M. Egyedi, J.L.M. Vrancken and J. Ubacht )
"The paper argues that a new category of infrastructures is emerging - user driven, self organizing and with decentralized control: Inverse Infrastructures (IIs). IIs are not well understood. Moreover, they represent a paradigm shift in infrastructure development."
See an inverse infrastructure at work, and also get an extraordinary insight into what two illiterate 40-year-old women in a remote African village achieved.
Self-assembly, spherical homes for off-the-grid towns, anywhere.
To hope to address the emerging, gigantic challenges of the 21st century we need innovative, scaleable, practical solutions. As things stand, population will plateau at 10 / 11 billion people by 2100 - and committing (now) to creating scaleable, diverse, distributed population centres will be a crucial part of sustainably transitioning to a global society that supports these numbers.
Read Our Story: Why The Ekinoid Project matters.
Imagine self-assembling enough spherical houses in one place to build a functioning, sustainable, off-the-grid town for 10,000 people - in only 6-12 months. And then repeating these Ekinoid clusters in 10,000 other places - potentially on what is (currently) designated as marginal land (i.e., land that may be only be 'marginal' because it is outside our traditional bricks-and-mortar perception of what constitutes usable building land).
"Sphere Towns": All-Terrain-Friendly
A sphere is structurally light yet exceptionally strong, and the Ekinoid home will hence very significantly reduce raw-material requirements (down from around 150 tonnes to around 20 tonnes - reference: SEI 2007 PDF: page 10), whilst at the same time increasing the space available inside from around 80 sq.m to around 240 sq.m - and this does not take into account all the land underneath; it will also allow occupants to fulfil their own power needs using solar/wind power - or biogas gasification (NB: This is a 2.4Mb PDF file to download) - and meet their requirements for potable water by using cheap and effective treatments to rainwater runoff, using, for instance, Berkey Water Filters, or maybe a variation on the LifeSaver. The Ekinoid home will also properly address grey water management - and use in-house sewage treatment and composting; UD (urine dirversion) toilets also make a lot of sense to use. It will also provide the means to cleanly and efficiently supply most of the occupants' food needs (via a hydroponic crop system around the glass/ETFE stairwell [ETFE is recyclable]).
The Ekinoid Project focuses on the idea that a spherical structure can deliver a simple, practical, affordable housing solution, suitable for any environment. A structure whose parts can be both mass produced (locally, wherever practicable) and fabricated on-site - using *inverse infrastructures (PDF file: 120kb), and unskilled hands (using detailed written and video instruction, as well as personal support from a previous Ekinoid-home-fabricator). Ekinoid homes will be designed to suit the local climate and terrain.
The Ekinoid Project: Goals
- 1. Designing the Ekinoid home in such a (bolt-together, colour-coded) way that it can be built onsite by cooperating individuals (unskilled in traditional building construction): You build your own home; you can help others build theirs.
- 2. That an Ekinoid home can be completely constructed within one week.
- 3. An Ekinoid home can be easily joined to another Ekinoid home (via the stairwell); a stairwell would normally connect two homes together (as the main entrance for one, and as a fire escape for the other) but can, in theory, connect up to four Ekinoid homes.
- 4.The Ekinoid home will be suitable for all land-based environments across the globe.
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The Ekinoid Project: Issues
- Ekinoid homes, having a spherical (steel or possibly Glulam) frame, will be extremely strong, robust and light (a sphere has the maximum-volume-to-minimum-surface-area ratio of any shape in nature [25% more than a cube]). This will make them ideal for any environment - the spherical shape retains its strength in any conditions. However, different environments (rainforest, desert, arctic, proximity to sea water etc.,) are going to need subtantially different cladding ("skins") and insulation. Wherever possible we would like to factor in the use of local materials (to minimise the transportation of materials, support the local economy etc.).
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The Ekinoid Project: Needs
- 1. Seed funding for the initial project - building/testing the main floor; then the building of a full-size prototype.
- 2. Facilities to research, design and build a full-sized Ekinoid prototype - ideally testing a range of materials, to allow for different environments; desert, humid, cold, high rainfall etc. For this we would particularly welcome the commitment of one or more universities, specialising in architecture, structural engineering and materials research.
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Universities, we are seeking your collaboration.
The Ekinoid Project is seeking active, ongoing collaborations with one or more universities. We want to forge partnerships (in industry and) with universities regarding architectural, structural engineering and materials solutions, and we want to involve product designers, graphic designers, 3D artists etc. The Ekinoid Project would provide many diverse long-term research-based projects for groups of second/third-year, Masters and PHD students.
We are based near St Austell in Cornwall, UK. However, we are very happy to work remotely with any sympathetic bodies worldwide. We don't care where you are, so long as you can share our vision. This is a global project - we are looking for global partnerships, global solutions.