This week at United Nations Headquarters in New York, Pritzker Prize winning architect Alejandro Aravena announced he and the Chilean-based architecture studio Elemental have open-sourced low-cost housing designs for four completed projects. In other words, they can be downloaded free of charge. The goal, says Aravena, is to expand sustainable housing worldwide to help solve the housing shortage problem.

The four housing designs, which are focused on people-focused urban planning, include Monroy Housing, Monterrey Development, Villa Verde and Colonia Lo Barnechea.

“We are living in an urban age – which is in principle great news, because cities hold the prospect of greater opportunity, education and jobs – but the problem of the scale and speed with which the urbanization process is taking place, has no precedent in human history,” says Aravena.

He hopes the open source strategy will get more people involved in housing and help people solve their problems, so that people become part of the solution and not part of the problem.

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