Overpopulation refers to stretching in terms of size and capacity due to limited resources and space. Overpopulation occurs as a result of high population densities. High population densities occur when the ratio of people to the size of land is not equal. High population densities are as a result of high birth rates which lead to pressure on available resources (Newman 2008).
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Existing resources can only satisfy sufficiently a certain number of people and once the population explodes, social issues arise. These include poor sanitation, poor housing and increased poverty. Overpopulation is a major challenge in developing countries where people have continuously exceeded the normal size. This has led to pressure on space and land.
Solutions to Overpopulation
Land is a fixed resource therefore innovative ways need to be devised to use it. Several options are available to tackle overpopulation including economic, technical and social options like conservation, recycling, population controls through government legislation, educating people, and use of new technologies offered by art, engineering and architecture. Countries may implement measures to reduce birth rates or offer options to control putting up of buildings (Brym & Lie 2007, Newman 2008).
It is important to understand the root cause of overpopulation, which is scarce space. This means that if space is used efficiently, the problem of overpopulation can be greatly reduced. One angle is applying innovation in how buildings are designed and erected to utilize little space. Several architectural designs and drawings have been advanced by different experts in design and building of houses (Fawcett 2003).
My independent research covered hexagonal housing units often refered to as vertical cities.
Emergence of vertical cities
Based on my independent research, development of housing and commercial units ‘horizontally’ tends to use up more space. As a result, developments by a Malaysian architect, Tay Wee, propose the design of ‘vertical cities’ which are made up of hexagonal housing units that offer a solution to the problem of overpopulation mostly experienced in Asian cities where population has exceeded the space available (Bernick, K 2010).
This development supports the idea that as population continues to burst; more units can be added to the facility or structure to accommodate the ever increasing population. It is termed as a “plug-in development” which borrows heavily from Le Corbusie’s theory, a French architect, who made advanced developments in architectural styles and emphasized the idea that “a house is a machine for living”( Bernick, K 2010).
In this proposed model, the city authorities own the building. They build it upon consideration of aspects like costs, accessibility, durability, ability to withstand tension, materials for construction and usability. Upon the erection of the original structure, more hexagonal units can be “plugged in” to the initial structure to accommodate new and upcoming families who want to settle down into homes (Bernick, K 2010).
When putting up the initial structure, arrangements should be made to accommodate recreational needs and facilities hence these areas maybe left as open spaces. The fascinating thing with this design is the ease of dismantling which implies that it promotes mobility hence it can be moved to another upcoming area in the event of pressures of population or growth of new cities which present better options for settlement of population.
The design of the building assumes that the structure will have a longer and sustainable life as compared to the degrading city and surroundings. This can be particularly applied in developing countries where better building solutions like ‘vertical cities’ have not been employed as this considers the fact that land is a scarce resource (Bernick, K 2010).
Aspects of design
Aspects of design refer to the elements that are considered to promote symmetry in the successful implementation of different architectural styles. These aspects revolve around shape, material, cost, accessibility, usability, effectiveness and durability. Design involves conceiving in the mind sketches and plans to be executed or constructed (Downton 2003). Based on the idea of vertical cities, aspects of design are equally taken into consideration and are discussed below.
In this particular case, usability is one of the core aspects. Usability refers to the ease of use and re-use in terms of ability to replicate the concept and make improvements to it. The idea behind hexagonal units is to “plug in” new housing units to the existing structure. This implies that the initial structure can be modified vertically depending how well the initial concrete slab was designed to withstand tension in terms of pressure and weight.
Usability is brought about by the ability to continuously add more units without exerting pressure on horizontal space due to the fact that vertical space is being used (Gudnason & Scherer 2012). Usability is equally brought about in the sense that this model can be replicated in towns experiencing similar overpopulation problems and used to curb the social issue. This idea is supported by the fact that the structure is flexible and can easily be dismantled hence it is very mobile.
The second aspect of design is accessibility. It refers to the degree in which a product, which in this case is a building, is readily available to as many individuals as possible. Accessibility in this design can be looked at from an angle of mobility in the sense that in the event of development of new cities, the structure can be moved to new found areas. People are not restricted to their initial areas of settlement.
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Cost refers to the monetary or non-monetary investment that is used in development of something (Levitt & Bernstein 2010). This design saves costs in terms of time due to the option of plugging in” of hexagonal units. One does not have to undergo the problem of setting up initial structures.
This style significantly reduces financial cost. This is in terms of acquiring of new space or land to put up more units. The style makes use of vertical space to accommodate new or upcoming units. The initial cost of setting up the concrete slab might be costly hence care must be taken to ensure that durability and strength of the structure is not compromised as a result of concentrating on cost-cutting measures.
The overpopulation problem poses a major strain to many resources which include land and social amenities. Several options are available to tackle the ever increasing problem of population pressure. Architecture has presented several styles in design that if employed can greatly manage the overpopulation problems as indicated above.
Different advancements have been laid out that can be used in countries experiencing this social issue to ease congestion and over reliance on land as a fixed resource. It is important to appreciate the fact that architecture and engineering could provide several options that can be employed by countries experiencing overpopulation problems.
Bernick, K (2010), Plug your hexagonal house into this vertical city. Web.
Gudnason, G & Scherer, R. J (2012), E-Work and E-Business in Architecture, Engineering and Construction. CRC Press,United Kingdom.
Brym, R.J & Lie, J (2007), Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. Cengage Learning Inc, USA.
Downton, P(2003), Design Research. RMIT, Australia.
Fawcett, P (2003), Architecture Design Notebook. Elsevier Science, USA.
Levitt, D & Bernstein, L (2010), The Housing Design Handbook: A guide to Good Practice. Routlege, USA.
Newman, D (2008), Sociology: Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life. Pine Forge Press, USA.