Touch the Earth Lightly – Green Shack Initiative

Touching the Earth Lightly is a Cape Town design company, which has designed a low-tech, replicable solution to the fires and flooding destroying poor, temporary homes.  A small grant has been awarded to enable Touching the Earth Lightly to build a working prototype of the Green Shack design, in-situ, in a high visibility area in Cape Town.

The company reports how the design explores the transformative power of light, water, and plants and has led to the development and prototyping of the “Green Shack”, which looks at how simple, low-tech design can transform temporary spaces into “home” spaces.   Not a long-term solution, the initiative is focused entirely on what can be achieved now. Right now.

Stephen Lamb, the designer continues:  “The desire to “do something now” is born out of the frustration of waiting. Spaces of “temporary” (informal housing) have become the “spaces of permanent”. In this space people wait years and years for politicians to make good on promises that are near impossible to fulfil.  These “spaces of waiting” become the most desperate of spaces. They become places where hope can die. Families find themselves destitute, between the promise and the lie, and lose years of their lives, waiting…  The Green Shack aims to change the spaces of waiting, into safer places of living.

Stephen’s rationale for the initiative is:

“Nobody wants to live in a shack and nobody should.  But the reality is that millions do, and have been for over ten years.  This is the “space of waiting”.  Residents want to stop waiting, and start living.  The Green Shack, therefore, provides a safer, more dignified, more efficient, “greener” space of waiting.”

See more about this project and others here.