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The Better Living Challenge showcase at the Cape Town Station Forecourt

The Better Living Challenge’s signature Showcase event comprised of lifesize home structures, interactive displays and a programme of lunch-time talks will be taking place this October and November at the Cape Town station forecourt.

The Better Living Challenge

The Better Living Challenge Showcase is an interactive event taking place from Tuesday, 28 October to Saturday, 8 November 2014. The exhibition will be officially opened by Premier Helen Zille, MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela (Human Settlements) and MEC Alan Winde (Economic Opportunities) on Thursday, 30 October 2014. There will be lunchtime talks taking place from Wednesday, 29 October 2014. Exhibition opening times are as follows: Monday to Friday from 09H00 – 17H00 and 09H00 – 13H00 on Saturdays.

On show at this event is a display of solutions by the finalists and exhibitors whose projects were entered into the Better Living Challenge. These innovative, affordable and green solutions aim to address some of the problems faced by people living in low-income communities.

Better Living Challenge finalist, James van der Walt’s SolarTurtle solution, will power the entire exhibition off-the-grid at the Cape Town station forecourt. SolarTurtle is a solar-powered energy distribution point securely housed in a 6m shipping container. The container is fitted with a solar battery charging station capable of charging hundreds of battery packs every day. In low-income communities, SolarTurtle functions like a local spaza shop where a local resident will own and operate the SolarTurtle and neighbours will bring their own batteries to be charged, thus providing electricity for the homes . The SolarTurtle prototype can power up to 300 rural households with basic electricity for lights, radios, phones and TVs.

Amongst several other structures being erected at the station forecourt, is an example of a self-build concept that utilises the current sandbag housing technology to work in an incremental way. Known as the UBU Process and entered into the competition by Barry Lewis, the process will commence with the building of a skeleton of a timber frame, clad in zinc prior to the exhibition opening. The incremental part of the build with the sandbags will be done in collaboration with members of a community from Philippi called Sweet Home Farm; an informal settlement that has been in existence since 1996 and has upwards of 17,000 people living in it.

Better Living Challenge has collaborated with Home Innovations Labs to help test some of the solutions in the home. Home-owners from NY147 Street in Gugulethu who implemented these sustainable innovations in their home, have also agreed to assist the Better Living Challenge Showcase as House Hosts at the exhibition on the Cape Town station forecourt.

The Creation of The Better Living Challenge 

The Better Living Challenge is a design competition calling for green and affordable products, systems and services, to improve the homes of people living in low-income communities. The Better Living Challenge has been on the hunt to uncover solutions and ideas to improve the lives and homes of people living in low-income areas. Groundbreaking products and innovations that are affordable, well designed and green are being brought to life through this competition.

Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, said: “In the spirit of our motto, “Better Together”, we put the challenge out to our residents to come up with innovative, sustainable solutions for low-income housing. The entries we received far outweighed our expectations, and I am looking forward to seeing the winning concepts brought to life in a way that improves livelihoods in our province”.

The Better Living Challenge Selection Panel of 47 industry experts identified 21 finalists and 33 exhibitors – out of an impressive number of 130 total entries received. These solutions to be showcased, embody the aims of the competition. The Panel nominated 3 finalists in the Connected Home category, 7 in the Comfortable Home category and 11 finalists in the Structural Home category. In addition, the Selection Panel identified a further 33 projects of merit that will exhibit as part of the Showcase, but are not in line to win an award. To ensure fairness, the selection process was independently observed by KPMG.

There are 3 grand prizes that each consist of half a million rand’s worth of support services to enable these solutions getting to market. 3 student entries will each receive a R40 000 cash prize. The concept facilitates the concept-to-market value chain for innovative and affordable home improvement solutions. The project is specifically aimed at lower LSM groups, although innovations can apply across various communities.

The Better Living Challenge is project-managed by the Cape Craft + Design Institute (CCDI), on behalf of the Western Cape Government’s 110% Green initiative, which encourages organisations to commit to the Green Economy. The Better Living Challenge is a collaborative project between the public and private sector, and civil society demonstrating that these partnerships work to promote economic development. It is an official project (WDC#204) of the Cape Town World Design Capital 2014 (WDC2014) programme.

For more information:
Facebook – The Better Living Challenge
Twitter – @TheBLChallenge