April 5, 2012Cornell University Sustainable Design (CUSD) is partnering with SosteNica, the Sustainable Development Fund of Nicaragua, to create a sustainable model for affordable housing. Their goal is to design and build the first housing cooperative in Nicaragua to integrate ecological technologies that reduce dependence on fossil fuels and create greater resilience in the face of climate change.
The project is centered on the design of a 30-house cooperative, including a community building. Following the research and design phases, CUSD will participate in the construction of the community building and one of the 30 homes. This joint effort will explore the unique design challenges facing those in Nicaragua and other developing countries who seek to offer affordable housing that departs from conventional building practices by promoting responsible household management of limited natural resources. Equally important to this project is the creation of a design that can be passed on to the community itself, such that the 30 families, after building the community building, can continue with the project after CUSD leaves. The development, when completed, will be Nicaragua’s first micro-loan fund program to combine sustainable technologies with affordable housing.
The team plans to have their research and design phase completed by the spring of 2013, and to begin construction immediately thereafter.