The Micro Urban Project – the winning entry of the 2013 Micro Housing Ideas Competition – provides an innovative micro pod-housing model for a diverse set of singles, couples, and families. This affordable and resilient design utilizes the adjacent river as an energy source and incorporates solar and rainwater-harvesting functions that feed resources back to the community. The project is located on the bank of the Platte River and allows public access to the water. As a riverfront development model, Micro Urban is broad enough of a design to potentially translate to other waterfront cities that face issues of public waterfront access, climate change, and affordability. The construction of the project and modular building components could also be easily replicated, as the pods have a similar floor plan (varying only in square footage) and similar living screens of vegetation. The pod’s separate construction allows access for contractors to renovate the building depending on needs and demands of the occupants such as demographic changes, aesthetic judgments, or maintenance. The building itself uses biomimicry, working like a forest with a screen of vegetation that responds to the seasons and shields the building from severe weather. The units also employ a green energy scheme, using the sun and river turbines for power and cooling, and rainwater collection accessible by the tenants. Aside from the money saved in utility and space conservation, the upfront development and construction costs of such a high quality affordable housing project could also lower over time as the demands increase. It is imperative that we start designing better quality affordable housing for dense urban places that speak to our environmental and social concerns. I see this project as a catalyst that sets a precedent for a high-quality and low-income housing project that fosters stewardship of the surrounding environment.
Micro Housing Ideas Competition Winning Entry: https://sites.google.com/site/microhousingideascompetition/home/entries-1/entry-67—first-place