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Brian McCarthy (2008) Pop!Tech Pop!Cast - Video

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POP!TECH [♪ POP!TECH Theme Music ♪] Brings Together The World's Leading Thinkers To Share Inspiration and Ideas Igniting Change And Unlocking Human Potential This Is Part Of Their Ongoing Conversation POP!TECH POP!CAST Good afternoon. As Andrew mentioned, I'm Brian McCarthy. I'm founder and CEO of PFNC. We are a sustainable vision start-up company, for-profit, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We are going to talk a little bit today about affordable housing, but before we do I want to define one word that many of you are probably familiar with. It's maquiladora: what is a maquiladora? A maquiladora is a plant or a factory that's working to assemble goods or manufacture goods abroad, typically for import back into the US. So, many of these are US companies that are setting up operations there. So you may have heard the term, maybe you haven't. Who are these companies? What do they do? What do they represent? We're putting some names on the screen here that you may be familiar with. They're some of the biggest and brightest companies in the US. These firms, plus the other 3,000 firms that are not represented with the company names here, represent 1.2 million employees in Mexico and many more throughout Latin America. So the problem is, in cities like Ciudad Juárez, there is population growth of over 60,000 people per year, which is faster than Phoenix or Las Vegas or other cities. Many people are coming there to earn modest wages of around $2 per hour, and the costs of living are increasing every day. Pair this up with a lack of affordable housing in the marketplace, and you get a different type of housing crisis than we're dealing with here in the US. So, many of the people who live in these homes are in fact employees of Fortune 1000 companies. So, our approach is that PFNC will build and sell workforce housing to Fortune 1000 companies for under $10,000 per unit, which now I understand is really expensive compared to Paul's offering earlier today. The model is that the employer finances the employee's purchase, transferring title completely over to the employee over a vesting period. This in turn, for the company, reduces the employee turnover, it increases the operational efficiencies of the plant, and it also reduces the transportation costs of these companies, who are currently transporting thousands of employees to and from work, in buses, every day. But the question is, where do you get a home for $10,000? PFNC, as Andrew said, stands for "Por Fin Nuestra Casa," which, translated into English, means, "Finally, a home of our own." We recycle surplus shipping containers that are piling up in US port cities. We do the modifications on the outside to allow for doors and windows. We apply insulating paint and other exterior treatments. Do our modifications on the inside while building out the traditional amenities, and give it functionality much like a traditional home to create our product. So this is our prototype. It was completed in June, and it's currently just outside of El Paso, Texas. When the unit's complete, it's equipped with electricity, plumbing, a full HVAC system, and kitchen and bath as well. These are shipping containers, designed to stack. So we have single module, we create blocks of units, then subsequently put larger blocks into communities, as you see on the screen here, to create hundreds of units in a proximate area. By doing so, we're able to share some of the most costly components of construction like land, and infrastructure, and some of the major mechanical systems. Our challenge, subsequently, is to design an affordable product that people really aspire to own, as opposed to just a product that people have to own because it's the only affordable offering in the marketplace. And subsequently, we also have to find our vanguard employer who really wants to raise the bar for their employees in Mexico, to demonstrate the model. The benefits? We plan to offer safe and sanitary living on Day One. This is not an incremental build, as many other approaches to affordable housing are taking, but it's a ready solution on Day One. We'll also offer clean water and safe light sources for interior light, and also deeded title which results in inclusion in the formal economy, increase in the tax base, and also significant wealth creation for these residents who are living at the base of the pyramid. With the potential impact, we anticipate building up to 15,000 units per year in Ciudad Juárez, to address some of the 300,000 employees who are already working in the maquiladora sector there. If you include the informal sector, there's a total of 500,000 residents in Juárez alone. There are 33 million people in Latin America who are wage-earning in this same demographic of income standards, and, worldwide, there are over 500 million people. Now, we know we can't address the entire segment, but we want to do everything we can to try to put as many people in homes as possible. So thanks so much, thanks Pop!Tech for inviting me, and enjoy the rest of the conference. This work is licensable under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike License For details please visit POP!TECH For more Pop!Casts, information on Pop!Tech or to learn how to participate, visit

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 50 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Pop!Tech
Director: Pop!Tech
Views: 122
Posted by: beth on Nov 20, 2008

social Innovation Fellow Brian McCarthy talks about affordable sustainable living at Pop!Tech 2008.

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