We received this letter today from someone doing his best to balance the ledger of access with regard to housing. Here's their official mission: "Enable just about anyone, regardless of prior experience, to build a code-compliant home or small-building." Dennis Michaud founded Homebuilt on four principals: People can and want to do things for themselves and their neighbors; they simply need the means to do so. Doing things for ourselves and our neighbors makes us at once proud and humble, independent and neighborly. Making something of quality that will outlive you by generations is a way that we can all have a positive impact on people we’ll never get the chance to meet. And finally, helping others is more important than helping ourselves. And Not Impossible says, "Amen."
It was very nice meeting you at the Maker Faire in NYC last weekend. I spent some time on your website, and I love it! I haven't gone through anywhere near all the articles, but I'll be making my way through them over the next week. At a high-level, I was struck by the premise with which you introduced Not Impossible to me, as it is the guiding principal behind what I have been trying to do for the last 8-10 years: Technology should be able not only to marginally improve the lives of those with means, but more importantly can radically better the lives of those without. (I'm paraphrasing, of course.)
As I'm sure you know, advances in building technology, sophisticated CAD systems, and even robotics have been employed to make ever more complex and beautiful buildings. However, being fortunate enough to have found myself in the middle of much of that technological development, I've been dismayed by how few of these advances have been employed to make real changes in the lives of average people, and even less in the lives of those just struggling to find and maintain decent shelter.
I humbly urge you, regardless of whether it includes discussion of Homebuilt or not, to bring this problem to your audience (I know you already have started doing this with, for example, your article on Hermit Houses). There is so much need in the world, and a shameful amount of need in the US, for solutions to housing shortages and deficiencies, while new technologies are developed continuously which could be applied towards abating those shortages and deficiencies. The ray guns just need to be pointed in the right direction!
[Ed. Note: In the next few days, we'll be posting an interview with Dennis about his work with Homebuilt. Humbling stuff]
Photos by Elliot V. Kotek for