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Simon commented on ShoutBox

Hi Simon - Simon here!

There are some great ideas emerging here on OpenIDEO. Yours is no exception. I am enjoying how they could all be integrated....

Did you see Steven Diebold's idea about canvassing communities and daily diaries with a video cam? As he explains, it's so important to harness the opinion of the target community - if you can, your project will almost certainly be a success. I am thinking your 'community shout box' could be integrated with Steven's video concept.

I am imagining your 'community shout box' sitting at the foot of the flood zone, together with the zonal filtration bed and reservoir, with crops growing on top, like an allotment. The facility would be a community focus for sharing successes in deployment of the systems and learning about how the local people can achieve similar successes themselves. So it would become a real community focal point, much like water wells have always done.

This 'flood well', together with your community shout box and a community allotment (irrigated by the flood well) becomes:

- a social focus - remembering that throughout history water wells a have always been community focal points in all cultures
- an education point teaching people how to take advantage of these ideas:
- Bennett's sustainable roof mini-farm
- Oscar's recycled plastic building system
- Sonia's water filtration system
- A distribution point for the materials and components

As Nelson Mandela said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world". Education is a luxury, but integrating education with the essential business of water management and the growing and harvesting of food, makes education more accessible to more people, even if they are only passing through.

What do you think?

P.S . . . . I'm now wondering if the community shout box could perhaps be itself the 'show home' exemplifying all these ideas about construction and harvesting?


Hi Bennett

Yes it would be important to understand the properties of the plastic. Perhaps someone who knows about that could add something here? Maybe if the plastic was processed in the right way it would be stable enough to use here - some plastics are used for water storage after all. It would not be nice to think that cheniclas form the recycled plastic were leaching out in to the filter beds and drinking water.

Yes the weight of the water could be an issue. Some ideas about how to deal with that....

One thought is that the entire roof wouldn't need to be water retaining? Some modules could have vents/ roof lights etc. This would help to decrease the weight.


The roof would have to be quite deep anyway to carry the crop growth medium/ water filter - so maybe the recycled plastic roof modules are inherently very strong, deep space frame structures, and designed to be able to support the amount of water that one unit would hold? Like plastic crates. Re-useable, modular, easy to replace. I just googled plastic crate and this is the sort of thing I mean: "Sterilite Plastic Storage Crate"

Each module could clip to the next - easy to assemble - self supporting for any span up to, say, 3 metres - have built in drainage channels for when the water has passed through the filtration bed and is potable.

I saw another idea here that mentioned an issue with waste plastic clogging up the drains during floods - as we know waste plastic is a real problem, but if communities collected it centrally and it was recycled into the building blocks of their homes, there may be good support for gathering it all up. Maybe someone should ask them? (see Steven Diebold's idea)


Simon commented on What are the current challenges with access now?

Here here!

So many times we can invent something new, and only after the event realise we never thought of asking the planned recipients if it would actually suit their needs and improve their lives. Whoops....

Understanding and engaging with the communities where we might think there is a problem has got to be done up front, and your idea is a great way to start.

Get out there, live with the people for a few weeks at different times of year to see , hear and feel the hot, wet and cold. Collect the raw footage and share it with us all- via OpenIDEO! While you are there, if some initial ideas start to come to the surface, maybe work up some initial prototypes/ models with the people in the community that seem most interested and keep in touch with them throughout the programme.

Amazingly in these places, people may live in shanty buildings, but they have smartphones in their pockets with high speed internet access - I am sure they'd enjoy participating in the work up.