Jose Raúl Moreno

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2009


This profile was prepared when Jose Raúl Moreno was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Jose Raúl is developing and disseminating new earthen construction technologies as commercially viable solutions for the housing needs of poor families in Colombia and neighboring Andean countries. In the Andean setting, earthen construction is a familiar, affordable, and environmentally friendly housing solution, and Jose Raúl is using it as a tool, both, for fostering local development and employment opportunities and for giving people a sense of ownership of the houses and communities in which they live.

In 1999, as a vehicle for developing and spreading his idea, Jose Raúl created Fundación Tierra Viva. Over an initial five-year period of investigation and experimentation, he and his Tierra Viva colleagues developed new and much-improved earthen construction materials that have proved to be appropriately durable, earthquake-resistant, and have been certified as meeting government-prescribed construction standards. Research and experimentation continue to be important components of Tierra Viva’s ongoing work, with a particular focus on the integration of green technologies—including thermal insulation layers, stabilized floors made of earthen materials, and green roofs—in the growing array of construction projects in which the organization is now involved.

Over the past decade, Tierra Viva has developed and implemented numerous small-scale construction projects, and is now engaged in larger-scale housing projects in two Colombian cities that will directly benefit some 450 families. The municipalities involved have recognized the quality and appropriateness of Jose Raúl’s earthen construction methods, and they are partially financing these two projects.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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