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Future House: 3-D Printed and Ready to Fly!!

Homes you can print, transport on the back of a truck, even fly. Although they sound like the homes of science fiction, they might well be the real residences of the not-too-distant future.

Impelled by the pressures of climate change and population growth and shaped by the promise of technologies like 3-D printing, a revolution is brewing in the future of homebuilding around the globe — especially in cities.

As Earth's inhabitants, we need to rethink almost everything about the way we live, especially in coastal cities, because our world may be reshaped by rising oceans in ways we can't yet fully anticipate, according to Hans-Peter Plag, a professor and director of the Mitigation and Adaptation Research Institute at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

"We have built with the design principle that sea level is not going to change," he said. "This time has come to an end. On the other hand, living in the coastal zone is extremely important for us. So we need to find a way to live in the coastal zone, but we cannot assume that sea level is stable."

Complicating the problem of a shrinking landmass is the prediction that the human population will grow to almost 10 billion people by 2050. And while many cities in the world will have to cope with extraordinary growth, others will have to prepare for shifting migration patterns that could leave them virtually deserted.

Today, 1 in 8 people live in urban slums, and by 2025, "it is likely that 1.6 billion will require adequate, affordable housing," according to the UN-Habitat's World Cities Report 2016.

Behrokh Khoshnevis, professor of engineering at the University of Southern California and director of its Center for Rapid Automated Fabrication Technologies (CRAFT), is one of many innovators looking to ease the housing crises of the future. "Somehow, we have to address the issue of shelter, which is at the base of the pyramid of needs," Khoshnevis said.

He hopes his 3-D printing construction method, which he calls Contour Crafting, will create a way to build homes for a fraction of the current cost. While he can't do anything about the price of land, Khoshnevis said his technology would build a house in a day and cut down on the construction cost by 30 percent.

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