Project Ground Up
Project Ground-up attempts to provide all basic amenities within a small house-footprint and building a community around the construction of the house with a village cooperative between 100 families, to create job & eventually lift poverty.



One billion people worldwide live in slums and the figure will likely grow to 2 billion by 2030. Project Ground-Up is targeted at preparing the site for a sanitary living condition, building a basic house for expansion, and building a self-managed and sustainable village cooperative and micro-enterprise that support the building of such houses as a short term goal, and  eventually to lift poverty as a long term goal.


Sanitation condition in slums are disastrous, dominated the accumulation of waste water and rainwater, which contributed to health hazards for inhabitants. Our goal is to prepare the site so that grey water can go into sewage lines and bathrooms are self-contained compost units that were proven safe and the decompost to be used as fertilizers. Depressed roads are provided to encourage positive drainage away from the house.


Through microfinancing and budget of the $300 house (detailed in last section), two micro-enterprises relating to construction are created:

Micro-concrete Roof Tile Factory
Compressed Earth Block Factory. 

These two micro-enterprises will provide 1500 compressed earth block and 250 micro-concrete roof tiles for each household, in return for 4.8 paid hrs of labor per family per week, the goal is to provide both free building materials for the villagers, job training, and small income for the families.


The house itself is a simple 180SF compressed earth block house on a 480SF plot containing an open courtyard. The courtyard could be used as retail, expansion of rooms, work area, etc depending on the need of the inhabitants. Chulha cooking stove (which reduces indoor smoke by 90%) is provide per family, and a concrete biosand water filter is also provided and shared between three families. We think that an individual bath / toilet is necessary as basic amenities as communal baths require a high maintainence budget, not to mention the dismal sanitary conditions associated. The scheme could accommodate an existing house even during construction of the new house, depending on the geometry and size of the existing plot. The use of local material and labor is utmost important to us.


The key to the project is the building of a village cooperative of 100 households. The goal is to provide a channel of participation and ownership of the village. All work produced in the process is made by the people for the people.  The enterprises provide additional income for villagers once the construction phase is over. If calibrated carefully, the cycle of improvements then can truly shape the well-being of the villagers that are committed to this change, and towards a healthier, safer, and more financially stable future.