MIT Designs Tsunami Resistant Houses

This is cool.

But guys, look at how much the house costs

(emphasis mine) 1,200 frickin’ bucks for a new house? Why the heck can’t we get a house like that in the States?

From the same link:

Yeah, so? An apartment that size runs $400+ a month where I live, and this ain’t exactly NYC.

Surely you are aware of the massive difference in dwelling prices, depending on demand for a particular location? And the cost of local labour?

‘A Crouch End house that is less than eight feet wide and used to be someone else’s kitchen has gone on the market.’

(Crouch End is in London. As with any such large city, demand for accommodation drives up prices. Add in the effect of being in a wealthy country…)

‘A former storage cupboard is being let in London for £135 a week, it emerged today.
Measuring just 62 square feet, the converted cupboard could well be the smallest flat in the capital.’

£135 is about $250.

Yeah, but I don’t live in a place like London or NYC, it’s a bedroom community of about 20K people, with an average income level of around $22K a year, yet housing prices are rising, rents for even the tiniest places are over $400/month. Absolutely absurd that someone can’t find a decent place to live at a reasonable price here. Even factoring in a higher labor cost for new construction, one should be able to build one of those houses fairly cheaply. Heck, Bucky Fuller figured out how to build a house for $1/sq. ft in the 1950s!

Um, I can assure you that there are massive economic differences between where you live and Sri Lanka. Here’s a couple:

‘While Sri Lanka’s per capita yearly income ($880) is higher than that of most of its South Asian neighbors’

'Ninety percent of Sri Lanka’s poor live in rural areas, where access to basic services is limited. Among the poorest households, only 38 percent have electricity, 55 percent sanitation, and 61 percent access to safe drinking water. ’

As for quoting 1950’s prices, have you not heard of inflation?!

‘a dollar in 1950 will buy only 13 cents worth of goods today, 87% less than before’

Um, Tucker? I don’t want to sound like your evil fourth-grade teacher, but these houses are about giving people a place to live where they don’t have to worry that they’re going to die. Their situation is way different from yours.

The cost of one of these houses is a little less than 150% of the average annual household income in Sri Lanka. If you were willing to do much of the work yourself, and you already owned the land, and you were willing to put up with the standard of these houses (and your local building codes allowed that)… yup, you could build a one- or two-bedroom house for less than 150% of the average annual household income in your state, I’m pretty sure. Of course that would be rather more than US$1200…

More importantly, though: I’m all for anything that gets survivors of the tsunami out of the emergency shelters and camps, and back to their homes and their lives. If this will help some Sri Lankan families do that, and let them sleep a little better at night, then good on the engineers!

Yeah, I get that. My point is that even at 10X the cost, it’d still be cheap by US stanards. Plus, something built by non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity, wouldn’t have many of the labor costs (since the houses are built by all volunteers).

Even so, a house built using Bucky’s design today (and mass production as he intended) would stillbe cheaper than houses built today.

Different fom mine, yes. Different from the estimated two million homeless in America, not so much.

Well, these houses are obviously a lot better than what the folks have had before, and can withstand a tsunami, so they’re certainly not flimsy, and even at 150% of the average annual household income of this state, it’s still pretty cheap.

Hey, I agree, I’d just like to see a push for something similar on a large scale here. Folks in hurricane prone areas of the US could no doubt benefit from some of the design features incorporated into the houses, since storm surges are probably as big of a threat as high winds and rains during a hurricane.

The 2002 US census says median household income was $42,409. (The report says it doesn’t include employer benefits, school lunches, food stamps and housing assistance.)
I don’t see where you get a figure of 10X from. Sri Lanka is obviously much more than 10X times poorer than the US.
Thus in Sri Lanka you can build a house for about 150% of average income, although there may be no electricity, sanitation or drinking water.
In the US, presumably you could build a similar hovel for $60,000. (And it would no doubt be illegal under local health codes.)‘US%20income%20annual%20average’

10X was a sampe number, but I will point out that in the US $60K will get you considerabley more than what 150% of the average income in Sri Lanki will get you, since new mobile homes cost less than that, and meet codes. Therefore, a house suche as they’re talking about building in Sri Lanka, would be less expensive than a mobile home, since it appareantly doesn’t include such things as wiring, plumbing, etc., etc.

Sorry, I don’t see what point you’re making.
The houses in Sri Lanka cost about 150% of a typical local income and they have less amenities than any US home.
You wanted to know why such houses couldn’t be built in the US. Well 150% of US average income actually gets you a better house.
So the US is better off (as you’d expect).
I think you just took the Sri Lankan figure of $1200 for a house and translated directly into a US price (which it isn’t).