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From Nike grind to dignified, sustainable housing for disadvantaged communities

Habi-Nex provides affordable, flexible modular housing solutions that promote financial prosperity and social inclusion.

Photo of Taru Niskanen
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We are a socially driven design practice creating innovative human-centered housing solutions to pressing issues that impact populations around the globe. We provide sustainable, modular housing for the following market sectors:

  1. Base of the Pyramid (BoP) market (e.g. low-income communities at informal settlements)
  2. Mid-market (e.g. student and senior housing)
  3. High-end market (e.g. recreational housing)

about Our product 

Our product is an affordable, sustainable, rapidly deployable and dignified house which is shipped in pieces and assembled by the end users. All building components were carefully chosen for their performance and efficiency and can be easily customized with local interior and exterior finishes, depending on the location of the house. We propose upcycling Nike grind products in various stages of our design process, using them both as a filler in our structural and insulation panels and as a finishing layer.

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

Habi-Nex B.V.

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • Rubber Outsoles
  • Rubber Flashings
  • Rubber Granulate
  • EVA Foam Injection Scraps
  • EVA Foam Flashings
  • EVA Foam Sheets & Blocks
  • EVA Foam Components

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Piloting

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

Our primary target market is the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) market in South Africa. Families and communities living in informal settlements & townships in South Africa will benefit from our product. Our secondary target markets are mid- & high-end markets in the Netherlands and beyond. Veterans, seniors, students and more will benefit from our product. The profits gained from the high-end market help support the work we do towards our target beneficiaries within our primary ('affordable') market.

How will you scale your idea? Please describe in detail your plan to scale your concept.

Netherlands: Together with our local partner SIP Construct we are about to start marketing & sales in the Netherlands (summer 2018). After that (fall 2018), we will expand our sales overseas. South Africa (SA): With the support of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (part of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs), we start a pilot project in SA in July 2018 as a first step to introduce our product to the SA market: 1. Production & assembly. 2. The pilot project will be used for structural testing to obtain the required SA (material-) certificates and building permits. 3. The pilot project will also be utilized for both community and residential uses in the informal settlement Enkanini & Kayamandi township in Stellenbosch, SA to introduce alternative building techniques to our target group and receive community ‘buy in’ (which is our main challenge) & collect feedback from the end users to make the final refinements to our full-scale production model

How is your idea innovative?

Our design uses a high performance building system, called SIP (Structural Insulated Panel). The panels consist of an insulating foam core, sandwiched between two structural facings (typically OSB board). The panels can be used as floor, wall, and roof, radically simplifying the building process. We are currently working on a highly innovative panel connection detail which would allow people with no previous construction experience to build the within a day.

What inspired this idea?

A billion+ people worldwide live in substandard housing. Decent, stable home provides more than just a roof over someone’s head: it helps to take individuals, families and communities out from survival mode and towards prosperity.

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

In what city are you located?


In what country are you located?

The Netherlands

What is your legal / organizational structure? (if applicable)

We are a registered company

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

The grant will help us to develop and fine-tune our product for larger scale production. It will contribute to our pilot project to test the product with real users. Beyond the funding, we see a great value in exploring partnerships we could build together.


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Photo of Brian Morris

What you doing is simply amazing! Keep up the good work! Love your articles.

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