press & contact
why 1K?

The United Nation estimates that nearly 1.5 billion people out of the Earth’s 6.0 billion inhabitants live on less than a dollar a day. 60% of this population reside in rural areas and face even worse conditions than those who live near urban settlements. The rural poor lack access not only to health care, transportation, education, and communications, but to the most basic needs, including sanitation, potable water, and proper shelter. Their dwellings are often poorly constructed, unsafe, and environmentally contaminated.

The vast majority of these 1.5 billion people are located in remote regions of China, India, and Africa. China’s rural housing needs are among the most pressing in the world. Chinese cities face an influx of 250 million people from the countryside in the next 25 years. In 2025, China’s urban population is projected to be 1 billion. Along with that growth comes overcrowding, labor surpluses, pollution, and an inadequate infrastructure.


prototypes & initiatives

The goal of this research initiative is to harness the intellectual capacity of MIT faculty and students to improve the plight of the world’s poor with respect to their housing needs. The intent of the project was established: how can design work to improve housing condition for the billions of people living in poor rural conditions on less that $1 per day?

The 1K house is aimed at improving the living conditions in these parts of the world where resources are scarce, infrastructure does not exist, and natural disasters often have struck. The highly inadequate living conditions of the poor rural population is a widely prevailing and under addressed issue that could be significantly improved. In other words, we believe design and economic intelligence can help with the solution to the global rural poverty on the housing front. The price cap of $1000 dollars is a rigorous but achievable goal to provide quality housing to a new and emerging market in developing countries around the world. The intent of the price is to allow a large economic group to afford proper housing for the first time.