Low-Tech and High-Tech Homes—At A Low-Cost

Substandard housing is a worldwide problem—and opportunity. Some places face natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis, that wipe out peoples’ homes. Other places face huge population growth, with more and more people packed into crowded slums every day. How do all those people provide shelter for themselves?

As we’ve always done, many people build a home themselves, in the vernacular style. You also see plenty of creative options for healthier, more sustainable housing. Some make use of new technology, such as re-working shipping containers. Others use manufactured materials in creative ways. And still others use mostly low-tech methods with a dose of technology. But all over the world, people are building low-tech and high-tech homes—at a low-cost

Examples of Low-Cost Homes

This one is called The $500 House.

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Masonry Homes in the Vernacular Style

Locally made bricks are used all over the world.

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High-Tech But More Expensive

This M.I.T. project has been built. It looks good but the cost came to $5925.


Here’s a very impressive shelter made from a shipping container. With two fold-out wings, it goes from approximately 160 square feet to about 480 square feet. Great engineering!

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Not quite as cheap, but uses standardized components and goes together quickly.

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Low-Tech and Slow But Cheap, Functional, Durable, and Sustainable!

Here’s info about poly bags for earthbag building. Just $.06 each!

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The Farmhouse Media is all about living sustainably through

  • green building

  • green cities

  • permaculture