By John Vibes / Truth Theory
The world’s first 3D-printed community is currently being built in rural Mexico. Construction began last week, and two houses have been built so far, but the developers hope to complete 50 new 3D-printed houses in the area by 2020.
The village is in a very rural, low-income area of Tabasco, Mexico, where earthquakes and flooding are both extremely common. The new homes will be replacing structures that were previously built out of whatever wood and metal the occupants could find, but now they will have access to housing that will keep them relatively safe from the harsh environment of the region.
A non-profit organization called New Story is currently building the community, and while this is its first 3D printing project, the group has built over 2,700 homes in South America and Mexico since it was founded in 2014. The construction technology company ICON helped develop the 3D printers that will be used to build the neighborhood.
Brett Hagler, CEO, and co-founder of New Story, said that the families who will be living in the homes helped with the design.
“These families are the most vulnerable, and in the lowest income … and they’re living on about an average of $3 a day. They’re living in literally a pieced-together shack that during the rainy season, it will rain and it will flood their shack. Some of the women even said that the water will go up to their knees when it rains, sometimes for months,” Hagler told CNN.
It is estimated that construction for these homes will take several 24 hour days, and the capacity of the printers allows the team to build two houses at once. This is about two times faster than the organization has been able to build houses with traditional construction processes. These buildings will also be much stronger, and even reinforced to withstand earthquakes.
ICON CEO and co-founder Jason Ballard says that the new technology is a massive improvement over what was used just a year ago.
“It’s 10 times better than we were a year ago. I am so proud. It is so rare that the-most-in-need of our sisters and brothers globally get first access to advanced technologies and breakthroughs in materials science. We think part of what 3D printing allows us to do is to deliver a much higher-quality product to the housing market at a speed and price that’s typically not available for people in” low-income housing, Ballard told CNN.
“3D printing is not science fiction. We have crossed that threshold from science fiction into reality. In the future, our bet is that this will be humanity’s best hope for a housing solution that that matches our highest values and ideals,” he added.
It is not entirely clear how much these homes will cost, but New Story says that the price will be based on the applicant’s level of income. Families will be expected to pay a fee that is roughly 20 to 30% of their income to live in these houses.
Image credit: Icon / Joshua Perez