Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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polylactic acid polymer mini huts as cheap housing

polylactic acid is a polymer that bacteria produce. These bacteria could be methanogens, suggesting that plentiful, cheap natural gas could be used to make polylactic acid. Then make costco-like mini huts from polylactic acid, creating ultra cheap housing
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Costco sheds (8' x 12'), come, delivered, at $1200. So for $1200 you could permanently house a homeless person.

Is there a way to make this $120, ten times cheaper?

At North America natural gas from fracking is so cheap that apparently for a while if was actually "free". Aside from distortions like that I also read that natural gas at North America might valued 3 to 11 times cheaper than that at Europe.

That suggests that bacteria that make polymers could be cheaper if they are methane metabolizers, bacteria that live off of methane.

So, just make the costco mini huts out of methane based polymers, contribute some porta potties, and solve homelessness for $240 million US, (1 or 2 million homeless) with durable structures.

beanangel, Sep 29 2016

costco mini huts http://www.costco.com/sheds.html
$999 on up, $1199 typical 8' x 12' [beanangel, Sep 29 2016]

Hexayurt https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexayurt
$1000 each [Voice, Oct 07 2016]

[link]






       // So for $1200 you could permanently house a homeless person. //   

       Really ?   

       What about the plot of land to put the shed on ? Where is it, and who pays for it ? What about property taxes - are they waived ?   

       Wouldn't this create an instant ghetto ?   

       Who pays for basic utilities like water, sewage and electricity to be run in ? That costs ...   

       If they are supplied, how will the now-homed person pay for them, if at all ?   

       What about paved access ways ?   

       Does the homeless person own the shelter, or do they rent it ?
8th of 7, Sep 29 2016
  

       What [8th] said. The real costs to house a person are far more than the thing they would live in. I would add the cost of security/police, leadership/government and schools.
Voice, Sep 29 2016
  

       Certainly for the actual structure part this would work, and I think that was the aim of the idea.   

       An 8 X 12' shed might house two bunk beds per, reducing the cost even further. Crowded, but better than a park bench.
whatrock, Sep 29 2016
  

       [8th] mildly, i think that polymers made from natural gas that is 3 to 11 times cheaper than other petropolymers, could create housing much cheaper than $1200 per dwelling.   

       now as to all that infrastructure stuff. hmmmmmmm.   

       >What about the plot of land to put the shed on ? Where is it, and who >pays for it ? What about property taxes - are they waived ?   

       At the US, there are a number of states where the government has title to 1/2 to 9/10 of the land. these taxes are already waived. like hong kong, the government could permit people to live on its land free 9much like railroads!) for a fixed period, then after an economy develops... oh my!   

       >Wouldn't this create an instant ghetto ? more like an instant heap of the mentally ill, although, i read that about 1/3 of the general population is described as introverted on the myer-briggs. 300,000 to 600,000 introverts living near each other might be less troubling socially than the general population(!)   

       >Who pays for basic utilities like water, sewage and electricity to be > run in ? That costs ...   

       hmm. could we go with LED lighting, USB laptops and $300 of photovoltaics?   

       >If they are supplied, how will the now-homed person pay for them, if >at all ?   

       reduce the current expenditures on low income housing 10%, then put the funds at index mutual funds, then only put up as many mini-huts as the index fund earns.   

       > What about paved access ways ? at some locations, just a few, gravel could do it while skipping the construction industry, which is fixed, and would prefer costly upgrades.   

       >[security] lots and lots of videocameras. also, many of the homeless have a bias against the police, they might voluntarily put up with 1/10 or less the security. They could emphasize introvert housing at the beginning. the myers briggs personality inventory suggests that 1/3 of the population is introverted. it is possible introverts cause less trouble to their neighbors. so, optimistically, 1/3 introverts, and 1/3 mediumverts could permit 2/3 of the homeless to live with comparatively minimal security, as they are less trouble to their neighbors. I mildly suggest computer software discern who is introverted.   

       >[education and government] these services are already previously provided, from the perspective of an expense.   

       compare $400 once for photovoltaic mini huts with about $6000 annually, which is similar to what US SSI expects rent to be annually.   

       I might be able to do better with the facile handwaving, the $400 once compared with $6000 annually might generate some latitude.
beanangel, Sep 29 2016
  

       I presume homelessness is an intentional government policy, so this is a technocratic solution rather than one which would solve the problem per se. Nonetheless, it sounds good to me. Regarding the ghetto issue, I see this as potentially like 'The Lady In The Van', i.e. the huts are situated on the property of willing owner-occupiers and provide a social mix to the neighbourhood.
nineteenthly, Oct 04 2016
  

       Hang on, aren't we all ignoring the elephant in the room?
Ian Tindale, Oct 04 2016
  

       Not possible in this case ...   

       // sheds (8' x 12') //   

       Doesn't say how high, but probably no more than 2.4m .... once you get the elephant in - even if it's a small one - it's going to be very, very hard to ignore.   

       A baby elephant stands about a metre tall at the shoulder and has a mass of about 100kg, and would be difficut to ignore. The problem with that is that the mother is considerably bigger and will get very upset if her baby is taken away. An unhappy mother elephant is widely recognized as a Bad Thing, so it is best to let her stay with her offspring.   

       An elephant old enough to roam away from its mother is going to be big enough to fill the specified shed, and indeed quite capable of completely demolishing it with minimal effort, or indeed without noticing.
8th of 7, Oct 04 2016
  

       There's no 'getting it in' stage. The shed would typically be fabricated around the (sleeping) elephant.
Ian Tindale, Oct 04 2016
  

       Well, there's a market opportunity for you, [Ian].
8th of 7, Oct 04 2016
  

       One solution would be to use a solution of acid and ants to eat out the inside of the elephant as it stands. That way, the similarity between an elephant and a shed can be leveraged, or even levered, or utilised, or basically, used, to make the elephant the room itself. Then when everyone is inside the shed, someone can hold their finger up in the air and say "but wait, aren't we ignoring the elephant is the room?"
Ian Tindale, Oct 04 2016
  

       ... and you could store stuff in the trunk, too.
8th of 7, Oct 04 2016
  

       Oh my goodness homelessness. Clearly, guileless bean was trying to come up with some practical application for the scheme and he stumbled into this homeless ness hole?   

       Lets try again: Here is cheap strong stuff which can be had for nearly free. Let us make houses for well to do people out of this stuff. All agree that well to do people are welcome, pay taxes, bathe (in some countries) and often pay to live in built structures.   

       I am a concerned that polylactic acid might slowly outgas lactic acid and so smell like sour milk. Lactic acid has caloric value and I also wonder about stability in any kind of humidity over the longer term.
bungston, Oct 04 2016
  

       //Lactic acid has caloric value and I also wonder about stability in any kind of humidity//   

       polylactate is, fortunately if you're in the disposable cup game, quite nicely degradable. Other biopolymers are a little more stable, however. Cellulose for example, is fairly stable and lignin even more so. I think I read some fantastical sci-fi once about converting CO2 directly into these polymers using sunlight. The edge of madness I suspect.
bs0u0155, Oct 04 2016
  

       Yeah, right. You'll be claming that it's possible to create a durable structure simply by stacking rectilinear lumps of igneous sillicates next ...
8th of 7, Oct 05 2016
  

       Only if you don't want a roof. How about tanning the elephant hide though?
Voice, Oct 06 2016
  

       If you've got somewhere to hide from elephants already, why do you need any other shelter ?
8th of 7, Oct 06 2016
  
      
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