Architects Apply Open Source Principles to Help Others

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 19, 2008

You know the results of FOSS communities are making a lasting impression when other groups try emulate their success by using the same concepts. The charitable organization Architecture for Humanity says they can bring about an "architectural revolution" by pairing the principles of collaboration and open source with needs of millions of people worldwide living in poverty today.

According to the Architecture for Humanity, one in seven people on the planet live in slum settlements, and the number will rise to one in three by 2020. Organizers say by pooling the thoughts, ideas, and designs of talented architects from around the world, they can help improve the living conditions of millions while protecting intellectual property rights under a Creative Commons license.

The group recently launched the Open Architecture Network, a Web site where building trade professionals can gather and collaborate online about ways to help communities in crisis and improve the built environment. It even offers open source architectural plans and blueprints right on the site.

While the group naturally seeks the input of people within the building industry, membership is also open to any group or person that can help strengthen the infrastructure of a newly-built community. The Architecture for Humanity is also looking for help from educators, healthcare workers, and technology partners.

The project came to fruition when Architecture for Humanity won a TED Prize in 2006 for its humanitarian efforts. Current supporters include Sun Microsystems, AMD, and Creative Commons.