VHS to join strategic open source housing task force

For Immediate Release:

With record low vacancy rates and record high rents within the Metro Vancouver area, Vancouver Hack Space Society (VHS) members have been feeling the crunch of being able to live in an increasingly expensive city.

Without any word on systemic solutions from local and provincial governments, various VHS member have taken to find out how makers, hackers and other creatives can help by applying their tremendous cross disciplinary expertise and help create grassroots engineering solutions to real world challenges.

After reaching out to fellow makerspaces around Metro Vancouver, as well as numerous local, regional and national organizations, development companies and design/engineering firms (like Misty West) ,with additional support of various national and international hacker and makerspaces, VHS is now proud to join the Canadian chapter of the Open Source Housing Initiative for Design Standards.

Based on the success of pandemic initiatives like Open Source Medical Supplies, the Open Source Housing Initiative for Design Standards is a joint-effort task force lead by the Canadian and US National Housing Research Councils.

Due to the persistent strains on global supply chains, one of the goals of the initiative is to create open validated designs that will allow local manufacturers to do more heavy lifting in decentralizing supply chain dependencies and improving turn-around for the manufacturing of specialized components. Another one of the goals is to create fully integrated scalable parametric models that – inspired by conventional cloud patterns – will automate testing and will allow architects and real-estate developers to integrate variance testing and systemic design validation, and to develop this as a standard “designops/devops” workflow.

This will not only result in cheaper housing but it will also dramatically improve turnaround for new housing.

As part of the initiative, members of the Canadian Hackspaces initiative have already started working on parametric elevator designs with fully open source control circuits, open source CNC pick-and-place and nail machines for pre-fabricated housing frames, and parametric design software – inspired by OpenSCAD – is being developed that will apply printed circuit board routing technology to automatically route electrical, heating, water and plumbing based on specific local building codes.

Furthermore, in light of the FIFA World Cup coming to Vancouver in 2026, the Open Source Housing Initiative for Design Standards has received commitment from federal, provincial and local government officials/council members, as well as the various large local real estate developers, that pilot projects that will help provide housing for the most vulnerable in the city will receive adequate funding and that housing will be prioritized.

A show-case test ground is planned to be built in the area beside Cambie Bridge in False Creek later this year.