Global Challenge, Global Solutions: Local Workforce and Materials Build Community Opportunities

MASS is a design group that fo­cuses on us­ing build­ing pro­jects to em­power the local com­munity by em­ploy­ing a mainly local work­force and util­iz­ing local ma­ter­i­als.

“Global Challenge, Global Solutions” is a series hosted on Climasphere highlighting inspiring, innovative, and creative global solutions to the challenge of climate change in the lead up to the next major climate conference, COP22. These solutions have been provided by members of the Earth To Marrakech coalition, a group of more than 50 media organizations, civil society groups, and businesses from around the world who are raising their voices in a collective call to move from words to action on climate change. Let’s send a message, from Earth To Marrakech: The solutions to climate change are out there, and they’re inspiring. 

Architecture Projects Using Local Materials and Workforce


By provid­ing train­ing op­por­tun­it­ies for local work­ers and ar­tis­ans, and by us­ing local ma­ter­i­als sourced onsite whenever pos­sible, MASS Design Group makes the con­struc­tion of a build­ing it­self a tool for pro­gress in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. MASS involves locals in all phases of the process, mak­ing sure build­ings, such as hos­pit­als and schools, are de­signed for the com­munity, and en­sur­ing that the local com­munity knows how to phys­ic­ally main­tain the build­ings them­selves.

As an ex­ample, to cre­ate the Ilima Primary School in the Demo­cratic Re­pub­lic of the Congo, MASS re­cruited two African ar­chi­tec­ture stu­dents to man­age the pro­ject, employed local carpenters to train village residents how to work with wood, used local re­sources for 95% of the build­ing’s struc­ture, and em­ployed ex­clus­ively local work­ers for the con­struc­tion of the build­ing. Since 2015, 12 build­ings have been con­struc­ted us­ing MASS’ meth­ods.

The build­ing sec­tor is re­spons­ible for up to 30% of global car­bon emis­sions and con­sumes up to 40% of all en­ergy.1 By us­ing loc­ally sourced, en­vir­on­ment­ally friendly ma­ter­i­als, as well as train­ing loc­als in main­ten­ance, the en­vir­on­mental im­pact can be sig­nificantly re­duced.



Us­ing local labor and local ma­ter­i­als re­duces the car­bon foot­print of the build­ings con­struc­ted.

MASS em­powers com­munit­ies by provid­ing local work­ers with know­ledge and new skills.

By lever­aging the skills ob­tained, loc­als can se­cure bet­ter-pay­ing jobs and bet­ter provide for their fam­il­ies.

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