Styrofoam Dome Houses for a Better World?

I’m jumping on Patti’s (over at Liberty Post) bandwagon.  I quite agree that these inexpensive, earthquake resistant Styrofoam homes should be a serious consideration for places like Haiti.  For that matter, lots of other places.  Created by International Dome House Inc. which is based in Japan, these homes boast ultra thermal insulating properties, easy scalability (by adding more modules), fast and easy assembly, lightweight transportation and a starting kit price of only $30,000.

But here is what I like most about these houses.  They are obviously no McMansions – these rounded quaint quarters seem to beg for neighborhoods that have front doors facing every which direction, and paths between each.  All of it, on a normal human scale, and it would seem to encourage walk-ability in neighborhoods.

I think a lot about the 10 lbs I would like to loose.  I have had 2 children and had no issues with loosing the post baby weight — but the sack of potatoes that I carry around…it came from when I moved from London back to America.  It is good ‘ole USA fat – and it comes from the fact that my everyday life is so much more sedentary than my London life was.   Even if I had lived in the country in England, I would have more reasons to traverse rambling paths to get to my local pub and other neighborly places.  But here in the USA we are forced to rely too heavily on cars and our communities are poorly designed and give us NO reasons to walk.

I have been watching Jamie Oliver and his TV show about kids, how terribly they eat, and how poorly educated they are when it comes to vegetables and good food.  I admire Jamie for stepping up to the plate for his industry and demanding that we do better, pointing out how his own peers are letting down a population and putting a spotlight on the problems in order to start to make change.   But, I have to say, I think we fool ourselves to think that the American obesity epidemic is purely food based. It is also hugely caused by the design of our communities.  And for that I think that we in the Architecture, Landscape, Civil, Urban, and Garden design world need to start stepping up and taking responsibility. I am wondering who in our world is going to stand up for all of us, shake things up a bit, and start pointing out that we in the all the land related design industries haven’t been building communities that support a healthy groups of people and we too can do better?

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Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.


  1. Tim Lee on March 30, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    I agree completely! Its never one thing but a perfect storm of many and we need people who genuinely care to stand up like Jamie and say enough is enough. Smart transportation modes and infrastructure have been neglected for too long in his country. Should it really cost billions of dollars to upgrade the rail system? Should we really have to fight for sidewalks in our towns?

  2. Louise on March 30, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    See Mass. Initiatives to encourage pedestrian friendly development. Support your local markets, your local farmers to produce for your community, gather awareness on the issues, there are some great case studies out there. Our town has a ‘walking bus’. Kids and parents meet at the library at 8am and walk together to the elementary school together, making great memories and healthy kids. Lots to do.

  3. Kate on March 31, 2010 at 12:43 am

    It’s not just an American problem! As an Australian I am appalled to see the obesity epidemic getting worse, when we have some of the best suited climates for walking daily. As a landscape architecture/architecture student I completely agree that something needs to be done in the realm of design and planning to STOP designing for cars and START providing for bikes and pedestrians.
    Louise is right too – support local and support your community.

    These are beautiful houses too – a fantastic idea.

  4. frill.friend on March 31, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    I have lost 20 pounds this year.
    1) eating less calories while eating MORE food … by cooking and preparing my meals … i control the fat (which I don’t skimp on – use olive oil with lighter flavor and mayo*) and add lots of fiber (vegetables with a TBSP of tasty dressing or cheese or oil or a combination of all of the above !)… and do NOT use any “diet / lo-cal / lo-fat” items … AND Iwatch less “stressful” TV (there are shows that push my willpower to the limit (cooking late at night is relaxing and after a wonderful bite, there is something to look forward to tomorrow)
    I would rather enjoy 3 bites of something WONDERFUL every few hours than a trough of yuk once or twice a day !
    2) exercise … add more steps depending on how I feel (on stressful days it is my “passive-aggressive” way to “put me first” and enjoy the sunshine or wind or even rain)… park further from the store and walk to and from … take one (or two not very often) flight of stairs and then use the elevator so i can catch my breath and not get too tired and sweaty)

    *I love mayo … check the ingredients … vegetable oil, egg and vinegar …. good stuff used with “good sense”.

  5. suz on March 31, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    um, is it just me, or do they look like ‘boob towns’ to anyone else?

  6. Louise on March 31, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Hi again

    thought you all may be interested in this competition From Mow to Grow.

  7. private on April 28, 2010 at 7:11 am

    Is there such a thing as an outdoor weight bench? I can’t fit into my house, and I would love to see one worked into an attractive landscape.

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