This page illustrates several alternative technologies adopted in UN-Habitat’s construction projects. These alternative technologies have been used to reduce negative environmental impacts caused by over-extraction of natural resources and to improve resource efficiency, particularly by reducing the requirement for skilled labour.
The term ‘Alternative Technology’, generally refers to technologies that have low environmental impact and are more resource efficient than traditional technologies. Alternative technologies provide economic, environmental and socio-cultural benefits. These include contributing to the local economy, reducing harmful emissions and waste and accommodating cultural norms and aspirations of communities.
The validity of a particular alternative technology in terms of its environmental and resource efficiency, may vary according to the local context. Therefore, not all alternative technologies are universally viable and the appropriateness of a particular technology should be carefully examined prior to use in each location. The affordability of the technology, in particular, the ability of beneficiaries to construct and maintain the houses in the long run, is also an important consideration. In addition, the appropriateness of a particular technology depends on its social acceptance by the users.
An additional advantage of using alternative technologies in construction is the opportunity to widen livelihood opportunities, especially for beneficiaries who are trained in new building technologies and in production of associated building materials.