In 1999 the world population reached 6 billion people. Projections indicate that the world will have 7 billion people by 2010 with 97.6% of the population growth taking place in developing countries. The population of developing countries has more than doubled in the 35 years from 1955 to 1990, growing from 1.89 billion to 4.13 billion. Urban settlements in the developing countries are, at present, growing five times as fast as those in the developed countries. Cities in these countries are already faced by enormous backlogs in shelter, infrastructure and services.
The United Nations Habitat Agenda states, “During the course of history, urbanization has been associated with economic and social progress, the promotion of literacy and education, the improvement of the general state of health, greater access to social services, and cultural, political and religious participation. Urban settlements, properly managed, hold the promise for human development and the protection of the world’s natural resources through their ability to support large numbers of people while limiting their impact on the natural environment”.
Every day the developing countries have to accommodate 150,000 additional urban dwellers. While large cities in developing countries have been growing at rates nearing 5% per year, slums and squatter settlements have been growing nearly twice as fast. It has been estimated that 17% of the world’s housing consists of one-room shelter, of which some three quarters are to be found in the developing countries. Some 42% of rural and 35% of urban dwellings in Africa are single-roomed. The overwhelming shelter problem in the developing countries is the shortage of affordable housing for low-income households in urban areas. This has resulted in the proliferation of slums and squatter settlements. At least 600 million urban dwellers in Africa, Asia and Latin America live in life-and-health threatening homes and neighborhoods because of the poor housing and living conditions and the lack of adequate provision for sanitation, drainage, removal of garbage and health care. An increasing number of the urban poor are also homeless in both developed and developing countries, with current estimates of the homeless population being over 100 million.
The world can not turn its back on the more than 1 billion people world wide that live in sub-standard living conditions. The goal of the global community should be no less than providing people in all countries and all societies with affordable and dignified housing.
Considering the alarming nature of the shelter problem facing the world at the onset of the 21st century, traditional methods of meeting the worlds housing demands will not be sufficient. New and innovative means of constructing shelter must be considered. Contour Crafting technology is the best way to address the housing problem of the 21st century. Using materials readily available at the build site, construction by Contour Crafting can build dignified houses or colony of houses with all the utilities for electrical and plumbing in less than 24 hours (per house). Due to the nature of this Solid Free-From fabrication technology, there will be minimal waste of construction material and almost non-existent labor costs and labor injuries and fatalities which happen frequently at construction sites (500,000 people get seriously injured or killed in construction annually in the US alone, a country in which stringent safety codes are regulated). The potential of Contour Crafting to quickly and efficiently alleviate housing concerns cannot be overlooked. Contour Crafting is the construction method of the future.