Top urban news, trends and reports curated for the world’s city leaders. Edited by David Hatch

Inexpensive two-story shacks designed for Cape Town slum dwellers

There are tin shacks, and then there’s the Empower Shack.

The low-cost home intended for Africa’s slum dwellers is the creation of Urban-Think Tank, a design practice founded in Caracas and ETH Zurich university, Dezeen reports.

While the structure is modest by western standards, it boasts some features that most shacks lack: two floors, electricity and a watertight exterior. The design could serve as a prototype for the slums of Cape Town and other cities, the article says.

The architects are exploring other configurations, such as adding a third story, and also working on ways to improve power and sanitation. The Empower Shack project is featured in a Zurich exhibition

The project is one of many focused on finding cheaper ways to provide low-cost urban housing. Fast Company reports that the YMCA’s Y:Cube prefab homes are an inexpensive option for city life. The tiny units, each just under 300 square feet (28 square meters), can be built quickly in factories and easily stacked together. The YMCA plans to install 36 in southwest London to test the concept. 


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