Monday, January 21, 2008

Self-Sufficient Dwelling Units

There are two essential concerns in desertification; one is the cause of desertification and the other is the effect of it. As population increases, the necessity of agriculture as a source of food and economical resource becomes critical. Taking over the forest to extend agricultural area is the easiest solution to the people in Madagascar or anywhere else where the desertification is happening. Once the cause is already being set, next concern is to combat or address its behavior which is the expansion of the desert through wind blowing sand, soil degradation, and soil erosion. Thus, we are facing two crises here that must be addressed; one is the expansion of population, and the other is the expansion of desert which shifts boundaries of desert, agriculture, and forest.

In Madagascar, agricultural practices as they currently exist degrade the soil as population increases, and the demand for agricultural production increases. As a result, the rate of desertification is increased dramatically and exponentially. And, no means are available currently for high population density and high agricultural production to exist simultaneously.

For the high agricultural production, effective agricultural practice must take place architecturally, such as intensive greenhouse or hydroponics that gives high agricultural yield for need of population growth without impacting soil.

Not only addressing agricultural practice, but also, high density population must be re-organized in a way that minimizes living areas on the agricultural productive land. People in Madagascar live close to the agricultural areas within walking distance because the transportation system is not effective due to the economical status in Madagascar. As a result, the expansion of population and their living areas take up the land that potential agricultural land.

Therefore, high agricultural yield and addressing living areas must happen simultaneously. However, economical and technical status in Madagascar sets up the limitation of developing system in order to address these problems. Therefore, system must be economically as efficient as possible, also build in a way within the given technology of Madagascar.

I propose a cellular dwelling system in conjunction with hydroponics agricultural practice that can expand and shrink as necessary. This system will provide and organize the living areas as well as agricultural products without impacting soil. This system will also combat with the expansion of the desert and reclaim the productive lands that were lost by desertification through shifting boundary.

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