August seems to be the month for competitions. Right on the heels of Electrolux’s Design Lab 2006 is the deadline for the “How to Provide Affordable Housing” competition co-sponsored by Ashoka’s Changemakers and Habitat for Humanity.

The competition will award up to $5,000 for “the best innovative solutions for affordable housing on a global level.” Proposals will be judged on how significantly they would impact quality of life for a large number of low-income people. Although environmental sustainability is encouraged, this particular competition is more focused on “the financial and social dimensions of sustainability.” In other words, they’re looking for solutions that are culturally appropriate to the regions they serve, and that will be self-sustaining or even profitable in the long-term, rather than one-off acts of philanthropy.

You can view all of the competition entries on the Changemakers site, and even “review” the ideas as they come in. To date, a proposal from a Canadian team to build low-cost housing using waste wheat straw is particularly apropos, as we recently mentioned waste straw as a sustainable material in Part 2 of Green Building 101.

The competition deadline is just eleven days away: August 23.

+ Changemakers
+ Habitat for Humanity
+ Ashoka