Architect building ‘infrastructure-free’ homes for poor Kenyans

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By Kazuya Endo
December 2, 2014, The Japan Times

NAIROBI – A Japanese architect is promoting construction of “infrastructure-free” homes for people in a Nairobi slum.

“Kenya has ‘people power’ though it’s poor,” Izumi Sakata, 59, said. “Seeds cultivated in Japan should bear a lot of fruit there.”

Sakata is leading a project in Kenya to build homes in areas lacking water supply, sewers, electricity and other infrastructure. A 12-unit apartment building is due to be completed early next year in a suburb of the Kenyan capital, the project’s first major achievement.

While each 22-sq.-meter unit will have a kitchen and bathroom, the building features a water-free toilet system.

“As building and maintaining gigantic infrastructure entails enormous costs, the mechanism the modern age has relied on is collapsing,” said Sakata, citing “network-type sewage systems” as a typical example of high-cost infrastructure.

Sakata plans to create a “self-contained” home that converts human waste and kitchen garbage into manure, cleans rainwater and groundwater so it is drinkable, and generates electricity using recycled batteries.

The water-free toilet system, the first step toward Sakata’s goal, was developed by a Japanese housing equipment maker for the project. Read more…

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