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Healing Homes

We invite you to participate in the Healing Homes Design Challenge organized by Build Academy, UN-Habitat, New York Academy of Sciences, Buro Happold and Davos BlockBase. The goal of this global innovation challenge is to generate designs for sustainable, cost-effective and safe homes that can assist, support, and protect people in case of health-related crises such as pandemics.

Introduction

We invite you to participate in the Healing Homes Challenge organized by Build Academy, UN-Habitat, New York Academy of Sciences, Buro Happold and Davos BlockBase. The goal of this global innovation challenge is to generate designs for sustainable, cost-effective and safe homes that can assist, support, and protect people in case of health-related crises such as pandemics. Participants are expected to work in cross-functional teams of designers, buildings sector professionals, health specialists, socio-economic and environmental experts from all over the world to come up with innovative solutions.

As COVID-19 spreads around the world, billions of people have been told to stay at home. It is estimated that around 1.8 billion people, or more than 20 percent of the world’s population, lack adequate housing. These figures include around 1 billion people living in informal settlements or slums. Housing is a fundamental human right, without it, it is impossible to carry out social distancing, good hygiene, and prevent the spreading of diseases.

Moreover, pandemic control measures in urban areas and lack of access to outside spaces can have a detrimental effect on peoples’ mental and physical health. The stressful home stay environment especially in small and crowded housing in informal settlements, the disruption of social and protective networks, and decreased access to services exacerbate the risk of violence for women and children.

Most people live in cities where the chances of contagion are much higher. How many neighbourhoods and the homes within have been designed with such situations in mind? How many people live in settings where they need to constantly be in contact with others for their daily needs as food, shelter, care, etc. There are no possibilities to isolate from other people and reduce the risk of getting sick. The way many of our homes, neighbourhoods and cities are designed often does not favor the way in which we can be prepared, assist, support, and protect people during pandemics.

Through crowdsourcing, we can co-create a more prepared and healthier future where homes and neighbourhoods benefit from design and technology to make our cities more efficient and proactive towards such health related crises. Imagine a future where neighbourhoods can be autonomous and self-sufficient as to generate energy, produce food, and recycle waste. Where social facilities can serve multiple purposes and allow people to be better organised and respond during a crisis.

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