A playful solution to the housing crisis | Sarah Murray


Translator: Ivana Korom
Reviewer: Camille Martínez Hi. My name’s Sarah, and I’ve been priced out
of the housing market. In fact, I’m one of the majority of my generation who can’t afford a home. And in 2017, home ownership
amongst young Australians has fallen to the lowest level
in recorded history. So, foolishly or otherwise, I decided to build my own home. But the prognosis
wasn’t good there, either. Architects cater for the one percent, builders are scarce, so service is inconsistent
and prices are high. The single biggest investment in my life, and I was amazed
how little self-determination, choice and, ultimately, control I had. What’s more, I was doubly surprised
at how vulnerable this made me feel. Frankly, I felt trapped. So, I reflected on this
for quite some time. And I realized what I wanted was democratized
design and construction. And that led to me asking
one very simple question: What is building a house? What is it? Well, it turns out that building a house is making a series of decisions,
some with physical consequences, within a defined set of parameters. Now, having worked in software
applications for some time now, this all sounded very familiar to me. I also couldn’t understand
why we build on-site. No other major assembly in our lives
is constructed like this. Your car doesn’t come to you in pieces with an extra 10 percent just in case, to be assembled at the mercy
of the elements. So why should your house? So I built a computer game. A game that allows you to design your home and have it delivered to you. A game that puts the home builder back at the center of the largest
purchase in their life, elevating them from spectator to player. A game with full visibility of the costs
and environmental impact of each new attribute you add. Using modular components,
players select items from their library and drag them into their world. Each item, be it a wall, a solar battery
or even an armchair, contains all of the information
for the system to calculate costs, environmental impact and even a happiness tally for the player. Eighty-three percent of home builders
said that next to cost, environmentally friendly features
were the most important things to them. So out of the gate, homes
are integrated with solar systems. Born green. Sustainable housing is often associated
with wealth and affluence, but that shouldn’t be the case. In fact, truly sustainable housing
should be available to everyone and affordable for all. So, I had found a way to get
the control back that I was craving and give it to others. But something was still bugging me, something was still
keeping me up at night. What about those people who have genuinely no control
over where they live? Every hour — in the space
of your intermission — 4,000 new homes are needed in the world. Wrap your head around that number. That’s an astonishing 35 million homes
globally, every year. And in Australia alone, we have a shortfall of 250,000 dwellings. And in addition to that, we have 190,000 families
on the assisted-housing wait list; families in need of a home. Between now and 2050, when the global population
is set to move from today’s 7.6 billion to tomorrow’s 9.8 billion people, hundreds of millions of people will experience security, health
and safety issues. Imagine if you can
not feeling secure in your home — not from crime, not from theft, but from the fact
that the building you’re in — the building you’re in — might not be structurally sound or built from nontoxic components or meet local natural disaster standards. It’s the 21st century. And this just isn’t good enough. What if — what if — we could restore control and dignity
to those individuals by giving them a home,
but not just any home: their home, and a home of their design. We’re currently adapting our game
so that when a player builds a home, they’re contributing to a home
for someone in need. And I know this sounds like a lofty goal, and it is ridiculously ambitious, but today, our current operating model operates at a ten-to-one ratio. So for every 10 homes we build, we can build a home for someone in need. (Applause) This is made possible because today, with design for manufacture and assembly, which uses light gauge
steel frame construction, shipped and assembled on-site, we can decrease construction
costs by 20 percent and environmental waste by 15 percent, saving time, money and keeping tons of waste
out of landfills. The power in modular construction is that you can build year-round
with confidence in your costs, in your quality, and in your delivery date,
in your build date. Now, wouldn’t that be crazy?
Wouldn’t that be great? But — that doesn’t get me to my goal. My goal is one-for-one. So I’ve been traveling the world, looking at different alternatives
of construction 3-D printing, trying to find technology
that will help me deliver on my ambition. 3-D printing is so exciting
and so promising, offering a 40 percent reduction in cost
and near zero waste. And this is just to name a few, but some of the really exciting
innovations happening all over the world are happening in Italy, France,
Dubai and Australia. And they use robotic arms
to print everything from solid stone to concrete, to wax. In Italy, they have developed
a technique using sorel cement. Sorel cement was originally
invented in 1867, and it’s the beautiful chemical marriage
of magnesium oxide and local sand, which they can now use
to print solid stone walls. And in France, they have a regulator-approved
although still experimental process where they print two parallel
tracks of foam insulation and pour concrete in the middle
to create solid stone. And in Dubai, sitting at the foot
of those two glorious Emirates Towers, is a vision of the future
in the middle of the desert. They’ve got their experimental
office of the future, which is constructed
using 3-D printed concrete which was printed in China and shipped and assembled
on location in Dubai. And not to be outdone, in Australia, we’ve pioneered
an amazing technology that allows you to print wax molds and pour concrete over the top of them, allowing you to create really intricately
beautiful and cost-effective facades that you can see in person the next time you travel
the London Underground. But all of these things are tools — hammer of tomorrow, if you like. And the one common thread
that connects all these things is computer-aided design. We will need models
to build using these techniques, models like the ones being developed
by players in our game. I want to put every person that wants one in a home of their own design. And there are many
more applications still. We could usher in an entirely new
empowered experience of special needs
or aged-care accommodation. And we could provide rapid,
on-site assistance in emergency housing situations. In the words of one of my players, “I want to take matters into my own hands and live by example.” Thank you. (Applause)

77 thoughts on “A playful solution to the housing crisis | Sarah Murray

  1. What is the name of the game? If it’s free and doesn’t require buying a house it sounds really fun

  2. Wait.. You couldn't afford a home so you made a person not only pay for their home but pay for a portion of someone else's as well??

  3. Interesting. Part of the problem is the baby boom generation. You see I was born at the very tale end of that era. But my parents were the last one who could afford a home. But they're dying off now. So there's going to be a glut of properties on the market.

  4. Houses are too expensive due to land value not building costs. Land value is growing because it is being artificially inflated by the way money lending works.

  5. This is all well and good, but in the US, good luck getting a loan to cover what the banks consider a mobile home. This is still out of reach for the vast majority of people.

  6. So you save on labor costs by having these components made in a factory at lower rates.Then you add 10 % to the cost so that for every 10 houses sold,1 is given away.Nice thought to give away houses,but how does this make the ones for sale affordable ? ?

  7. Now, what are the plans of bringing this business to 3rd world countries? It would be nice to have this here in Brazil.

  8. Great ideas 😃 The app, modular components… Now let's make those expensive banksters, mortgages, architects, builders & unions get lost? Good-bye & good riddance 👋 Customised 3D Printing instead. Yes… it's the 21st century! Good luck with all you do 👍

  9. Instead of building individual houses, build large high rises – those seem to be more environmentally friendly, more cost effective, and often you have better access to public transit, further helping those two factors.

  10. Blah-3. Everything that already exists is being revised here in the most boring way possible. She wants to do this and she wants to do that. But, the world is a evil place and things don't work like she wants so she started making modular houses with custom designs on 3d printers. Wow, what a load of innovation. She doesn't even have an idea why are houses so expensive. Are they expensive to built or are they expensive because on the land, location, taxes etc. Never expected this from TED.

  11. What is the retail price of this game that allows this business model to generate enough profit to sustain itself and simultaneously for every 10 customers build a house for a random third party (non stakeholder)? How does building an imaginary house provide a persons bank account with enough to afford a house? People can't afford a basic house so let's add solar panels (an expensive investment), how does that make it cheaper? Fringe construction technology is amazing and eco friendly but isn't widely used because it's currently not economically feasible, let's use it anyway? Did you mange to buy a house in the end? The initial problem posed was a financial issue and none of what was said addressed the problem, nor was there any innovative solution or technology presented. Putting the user at the center of the process is simply good design, and certainly not groundbreaking idea; while interesting to see a proposition to the construction industry for how they may accomplish this it doesn't solve the current problem.

    . _ .

  12. Go off the grid…Let's embrace our beautiful stationary flat Earth time keeping…20 hour day with 72 minutes per hour. An easier way to synchronized our senses in order to bring heaven back… step 1 tune your heart 💓 to 72 beats per minute (compassionate love mode)
    2 reposition your clocks numbers to assign noon as the 10th hour.
    3 wake up and just practice contemplation for 72 minutes while snuggling your love ones.
    4 practice this sequence. And feel free to interchange…72 minutes of contemplation (thinking, planning, visualization),72 minutes of creativity ( make an amazing day) and 72 minutes of action (get it done) p.s. The 24 hour day is for Worshipers of The Globe Earth Society Doctrine…

  13. 1) Sarah, no offense, but this business model is delusional and will fail. Like so many of Ted's feel good fluff talks. If you are going to give away 1 out of 11 homes, then your competitor will simply copy everything you're doing but not give away any homes. Thus beating your price and stealing your customers. This isn't a 50 dollar pair of Tom's shoes, nobody wants to tack on $10,000+ to their mortgage to help out another family. 2) Also, you aren't developing/patenting any major proprietary building technologies that will give you an edge, you are just using software and building methods that already exist and can easily be replicated by a competitor. You haven't built any houses yet, once you do, reality will strike. 3) Mandatory solar systems? That's added up front cost that reduces affordability in many cases. 4) Also, why make it a game? Why not just regular old design software. Why gamify it? Who has time for that. 5) You're trying to do way too many things at once with this: design, construction, charity, gaming, land sharing, R&D, contractor networking, etc. This is a recipe for failure. Just build one cheap house for yourself, Sarah, and let us know how much it cost you, then let's see where you're at. I am very supportive of the spirit of what you are trying to do but it's not financially sound. It's wishful thinking.

  14. You have to mass produce building components to be assembled on site. And build them high so there is a lot of total floor area (about 10 storeys).

  15. I feel like I'm missing the point here. Is she dealing with housing, or just decorating a house? All I saw was a lot of furniture buying, which is hardly a solution to the housing crisis. I mean, if I missed something, please tell me.

  16. The problem is not with architects and builders but with zoning and land speculation. Levying high land value taxes and using them to fund a citizens' dividend would work wonders for the housing market.

  17. "Truly sustainable housing should be affordable to everyone, and available to all". I agree with her here, but not in a way she would agree with. You see, our ancestors were nomads. Homelessness is affordable to all and is truly sustainable and is also the state of housing for humans for the majority of human history. I have solved the housing problem! It isn't a problem. Now lets just end all the pesky laws against homeless people, and problem solved once and for all.

  18. I like this idea. But it seems like there should also be an effort to slow population growth. Why does there need to be 7 billion of us? Can someone explain this to me? Right now as it is, I can probably find someone who is almost an exact copy of me in probably something like a 100 mile radius. Why do we need so much redundancy? I think the answer is there is no good reason.

  19. Single families or individuals sustaining a home is a relatively new idea that came to be after the war. The trend will be more people opting for shared accommodation. Families will stay together longer to cut costs and responsibilities. Your starting to see that trend already with the millennials staying at home longer. Shared accommodation isnt new, it has been happening for a very long time.

  20. This idea has been revisited and recycled literally hundreds of times in the architectural realm. Would have been interesting like 15 years ago or so.

  21. the idea of 3D printing of homes is really nice, but the idea of giving away homes isn't that good. imo

  22. Though she touched on this subject a bit & I would like to expand on it a bit more – Stop having kids you can't afford. Birth control is a lot cheaper than a lifetime of expenses with kids!!!

  23. Personally, in my opinion, and according to my limited knowledge that i am aware of, and just from a couple of minutes into the video. I am not convinced by the idea.
    people build houses on site, because there's foundation which is the base of the house. if it's not there, then how do you build the house? what if an earthquake or typhoon strikes?

    secondly, from the way she speaks, although seems nice and a great idea on surface, i feel like ("feel" because i'm not sure about the fact behind what i'm saying but it might be true), that she lacks many other details regarding building houses, only looking for data of how many people that has housing problem. like some others who commented already says. there's a factor of location, water access, public access, environment, safety, and so many more than just "building house in 3d and printed" to put it simply it truly is just "the sims" but can be printed and sent.

    also, is it accessible to everyone? or just the people who has money to do so? yes, i mean, she said it reduces construction costs at 20%, but again, does everyone builds their home from ground-up nowadays? a lot of people chose to buy an apartment, or buy an already made house, or someone else's house being sold. because i believe constructing costs way much more than buying what's already build. at best, it just opens up a new or easier job for people to be architect and/or interior designer

  24. 'I gave you a car that runs on water!'
    'No, Ronnie, you've shown me a glass of water and some painfully transparent confidence.'

  25. 1:35 … "… what I wanted was democratised design and construction…"
    1:45 … "… what is building a house?"
    Geeeeeeezus young people are the stupidest that they have ever ever been!!!
    They want blah blah, they need to be given blah blah, they expect it to be provided for them in their forever neurotic little existences.
    This woman has never worked a proper day in her life, is wasting the intelligence that she has been lucky to have, and she is a nagging malignancy on her community.
    As someone in his late 30's, who has saved a deposit, who has built and developed 5 houses, someone who is now without a mortgage, I have nothing by pity for this woman.

  26. Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. (The Noble Quran. Surah Hadid. Verse 20)
    French : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVY8pwx9B74

    English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Omh4oG8T_Fw

    German: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXWTxB6oS6I

  27. * Using a VR-enabled video game as a client-empowering storefront (nice),

    * being very proactive about cutting building costs without sacrificing quality or safety (nice; if she is really accomplishing that),

    * passing those savings onto the clients (making her company very competitive),

    but then

    * padding the price to clients; to pay for the houses of in-need strangers,
    with the idea that they won't mind paying an extra 10% since we saved them 20% (example), so they still end up paying 10% less than with other companies,
    so everyone wins.

    Anyone who grumbles about this part must be clueless about this being on the better side of ~the norm~ for businesses.
    Companies always add to their pricing, to generate extra for non-essential purposes that are specific to the interests of the company (or for the people running it).

    The only way they can stay competitive (while doing that) is by finding ways to keep base-price low enough that the adjusted market price is still competitive.

    It's not some evil scheme. It's the actual capital standard.

    But rather than using the extra to pad their own wallets, or to generate legally-loopholed political bribe-funds (as many companies do),
    this company is diverting the extra funds (instead) to in-need families, to help reduce suffering, disease, crime, housing-specific welfare costs, and mortality rates, which benefits everyone.

    These sound like great ideas, to me.

    But It's probably a catch22 for the speaker's company.
    Sharing enough specifics that they prove it's a fully viable model (if it is), …
    could be giving competitors the edge they need to render her company's edge nullified.

    For me, that makes this Ted Talk feel more like an infomercial for a specific company
    rather than a Tesla-values effort to freely share a wealth of mutually empowering knowledge.

    But I'm unsure.

    I mean, if the missing specifics (with proofs) are on their website, then that just means that they chose to keep this talk simple, just to stir enough interest to provoke further inquiry.

    Note to self:
    When today's work is done, make this my next research project.

  28. I use laptop windown7 and iphone 6s, seems to have abnormal access, I do not understand about the GDPR but have unauthorized access from somewhere, I have public but the results are different from my direction is 0908179106, congnguyen. np93 @ gmail. com, [email protected]

  29. Nice advertisement, but I was expecting… you know, something more. This is just a commercial.

  30. Solution has always been this simple: Ban mortgages. Home prices will continue to inflate so as long as there are stooges willing to borrow money at interest. No debtors means homes prices crash down to their true affordable values.

  31. Why are 90% of these TED talks-just first world collectivits with more time on thier hand then calluses?

  32. a culture of rent to own must encouraged and adopted in the world to help with the global housing crisis

  33. Nice ideas, all how to pour concrete more effectively. Does anyone have any idea what a waste of energy and raw material to burn cement? On big commercial buildings that is already a rarely, mostly used only for decoration purposes. If that does not worth to use at scale, why do we use it to build entire houses with?

  34. I think its a bit harder than that since real-state is one of the pillars of the banking system and vice-versa.

  35. Just think about the fact that someone who works in software application development, an extremely well paid profession, is priced out of the housing market.

    Then reevaluate why young people are fucking angry about what the older generations did to the world economy.

  36. Did she not say contractors were hard to find. So who's going to set up here pod on the lots she doesn't seem to have

  37. Sarah u gota wake up, worldwide land prices are on fire..in 3rd world countries in East Africa a small plot in the CBD can easily go for 1.5mUSD.

    a dude in Africa.

  38. We need free condoms for everyone. Condoms shouldn't be limited to the rich. Poor people need them even more.

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