Project 3 | Poster

Journal Entry For
Project 3 - Sharing


  • The idealized view enjoyed by Half Moon Bay’s tourists is starkly contrasted by the desperate reality lived by its farmworkers. On January 17th, 2023, Chunli Zhao, distressed by a dispute over $100, hunted his colleagues to their makeshift container-homes, killing seven and injuring one more.  [NPR, 2023].

Problem Statement


If housing isn’t addressed, farming will cease to exist in HMB by 2050. Our interviews confirmed that while there are grants being allocated to fund housing construction, land is scarce and expensive hence efficient designs are needed.


Composite Character

Project 3 | Composite Character Profiles
  • Adrían is a 27 year old farmworker who migrated to Half Moon Bay from Guadalajara, Mexico to work in the Brussels sprout fields. He lives with 9 other farmworkers in a 5-room, barracks-style house; although the house is in need of repair, all of the appliances work, and he is thankful that his living conditions are better than some of his peers. However, Adrian has no savings as he makes $14,000 per year, barely enough to cover his expenses.
  • Maria is 33-year old farmworker and a mother who lives in one side of a 2-bedroom mobile home with her 2 kids and husband; the other bedroom is occupied by another farmworker family. Maria wishes that her family had more privacy and that her children had a place to study.
  • Reese is an unemployed 20 year old in the Stage 2 of the Autism spectrum; they live in New York City with their mom and, after high school, had trouble holding down a job; social situations at McDonalds and at the Hardware store where they worked were stressful.
  • Allen is a 40-year old firefighter who works in Half Moon Bay; he is concerned about fire risk and smoke inhalation after getting a call to put out a fire from a wooden camp stove in a container home at the Mountain Mushroom farm.

POV Statements

Project 3 | POV Statements
  1. Maria needs a safe and affordable place for her family to cook, shower, and study because her family currently shares a crowded, two bedroom house with another farmworker family.
  2. Adrian needs a way to learn about farming, because he wants to increase his income by cultivating his own land rather than making less than poverty line as a farmworker.
  3. Reese needs a fulfilling alternative to living in New York City because he encountered anxiety in dynamic urban environments and wishes for routine and a slower pace.
  4. Adrian needs a place to stay while he is working in Half Moon Bay for two months planting season, because he is currently living out of his car.


We envision to build at the site of the former Mountain Mushroom farm where the 2023 shootings took place. This agricultural zoned parcel was condemned by San Mateo County for health and labor law violations.


2nd page

What (MVP):

We propose to establish a cooperative, rural farming community, with 500ft^2 micro-homes centered around a community center and solar carport.

  • Each farmer will cultivate 1 acre^2 of land without use of pesticides/fertilizers, carefully monitoring soil health and layering different varieties of crops
  • Electricity and water resources will be pooled centrally via the community center, equipped with cooking and laundry facilities
  • Non-farmers integrate in the co-op performing tasks including cooking, teaching, and maintaining equipment
  • Food will be shared, with excess stores available to sell to visitors via the community center’s always-open micro pantry, with instant true-up via blockchain




  • Use: Flooring and insulation (thermal, acoustic, and vibration)
  • Source: Locally grown in California
  • Characteristics: Impermeable to liquids and gases, resistant to decay and moisture, safety in health and well-being
  • Impact: Each ton of cork tree material absorbs 16,500 pounds of carbon dioxide and is biodegradable at the end of its lifecycle

Solar PV Tiles

Use: Roof tiles for home and community center

Source: Buffalo, NY (Solar tile Gigafactory)

Characteristics: Resistant to corrosion, fire, and hail; expected life 25+ years

Impact: Provide fossil fuel free electricity for homes, community activities, and farm equipment


TetraPak Bricks

Use: Building and framing

Source: Local up cycling center processes food and beverage containers

Characteristics: High strength-to-weight, easy to use (Lego-like characteristics), scalable for community to expand

Impact: Keep a portion of the 82B+/yr. TetraPak containers out of landfills; avoid mining and processing new raw materials


3rd Page)Additional explanation of MVP

Programs/Co-op explanations

Competitive Analysis

Project 3 | Competitive Analysis

Current Dwellings (Containers, RVs)

  • Unsanitary bathrooms, camp stoves, sanitation
  • Little/no insulation from weather elements
  • Electrical & security hazards

Alternate Projects

  • Prefabricated tiny homes offer generic designs and lack community integration, taking 10-12 months to complete at high cost ($650-680+/ft^2)
  • Ground-up multifamily projects take 4 years to build and many lack sustainable features since they are built to maximize return on investment ($550/ft^2)


  • Space optimized and designed specifically for rural agricultural housing ($357/ft^2)
  • Easily buildable using locally sourced materials including TetraPak bricks & cork
  • Converts sunlight to electricity via south-facing solar roof, illuminates living room yet shades bedroom loft for peaceful sleep
  • Technology integration with efficient heat pump heating, power sharing micro-grid & community grey-water processing

Sustainability Analysis

Project 3 | Sustainability Analysis
  • Integrating farmers and non-farmers in a co-operative micro-living environment creates resilience. The community center fosters shared cooking, dining, and pooling of resources. In contrast to individual efforts, collaboration eliminates redundant capital purchases. The solar carport charges shared electric vehicles and farm equipment.
  • Farmworkers gain the confidence to transition to farmers by cultivating small-scale, organic acres, focusing on soil quality and crop diversity; these methods help regenerate the land which has been depleted by industrial farming practices.