The Abōd, a dwelling by U.S. company BSB Design, is intended to relieve some of South Africa’s shortfall of housing for the nation’s legions of impoverished. For around $1500, about R12,000 of the local currency, the structure can be purchased and shipped to be built on location. The Abōd can be assembled by four people in one day with a screwdriver and an awl which is provided with the materials. The structure is equally simple to disassemble, an ideal option for individuals with insecure or nonexistent land tenure. While all of this is positive, the unfortunate homeless whom these structures are meant to assist cannot afford to purchase them. The average wage, for those making any, in South Africa is around R600 per week. The designers mention the possibility of micro lending programs, but this would be an inefficient use of scarce funds. Rather than building an item in the U.S. to be sold in South Africa, no matter how cheap, it would do more for the nation’s development if the design were incorporated and constructed with local materials suiting the circumstance. Numerous commentators have noted that the corrugated steel sides are completely impractical and create an unlivable environment in the hot South African climate and the small square footage would encourage people to immediately disassemble the Abōd to reuse its pieces in more practical structures. So, the simple design may be a good idea, but it should be used with whatever building materials are cheapest and most readily available to those needing the homes. Even were the same structures to be built, they should be built in South Africa by South Africans if the overall issue of poverty is to be addressed rather than filling the void with complete dependency on foreign aid. 

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