Published on December 29th, 2019 | by Johnna Crider
December 29th, 2019 by Johnna Crider
When Elon Musk said he wanted to use bricks from The Boring Company to help build affordable housing, I thought it was genius. (For the record, our own Kurt Lowder recommended this, and a bit more, way back in April 2018.) Millions of families in America experience homelessness or have been homeless (raises hand), and those of us who have experienced it know that housing in a good area is considered a luxury for those working low-wage jobs. In fact, it’s not just a luxury, it’s an impossibility.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition released its Out of Reach Report earlier this year, and the information in the report is tragic. This is supposed to be America, a place of prosperity. Over the last 30 years, though, the coalition has been documenting the ever-growing gaps between renters’ wages and the cost of rental housing. In fact, this was why I moved back to Louisiana. The overall cost of living is lower here. Baton Rouge is #7 on this list of cheapest places to live. My hometown of Shreveport, LA, is #24 on that list.
The Boring Company will be using dirt from tunnel digging to create bricks for low cost housing
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 7, 2018
Housing is more of a political issue than a technological one, one would think. Americans often mock the poor and the homeless and say they are the problem, when in fact greed is the problem. Anyone can become homeless. Trust me, I know. The youngest I’d ever been homeless was when I was 9. This problem is something that society needs to address with love and compassion and there isn’t just one cure. Affordable housing would be a huge help, but until landowners and housing developers make it easy for those with low credit or no credit to rent and lower the price enough, it can only do so much.
I love Elon’s idea of repurposing the dirt and materials that won’t be used once the tunnels are made. The dirt has to go somewhere, so why not use it to create bricks for housing. In fact, brick houses hold up better in storms than houses with a weak interior.
I had another idea for the unneeded material — and this isn’t just for dirt and bricks but for any materials that both The Boring Company and SpaceX end up not using and can later repurpose instead of discarding. What about creating materials for artists to use? I make jewelry and often order my wire online. I go to gem shows and crystal shops to buy stones to wrap. I had a thought — buying smaller versions of Boring Bricks would be a cool way for me to integrate what Elon is doing with my own artwork.
Elon inspires me, and I believe in him, so when he replied in the following way to me, it really made my day.
Yeah, Boring Bricks 🧱 are def coming, but whole team is focused on getting Vegas Convention Center tunnel operational so people can try it out, suggest improvements, etc. I ♥️ crowdsourcing ideas with people who really care about making great products!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 29, 2019
In case that tweet doesn’t load for you, Elon said that Boring Bricks are definitely coming but the team’s goal right now is to focus on getting the Vegas Convention Center tunnel operational. Naturally, the bricks are just a side project that are a result of materials from the tunnel being dug. That last line in which he said, “I love crowdsourcing ideas with people who really care about making great products!” showed that he at least appreciated my idea and could maybe possibly like my jewelry. I would hope so, since I did send him a piece as a gift in 2018 as a thank you for sharing my open letter I’d written to him. No, he didn’t endorse my jewelry specifically, but the fact that he said “great products” really put a big smile on my face since it was a reply to me asking him about the Boring Bricks to wrap as jewelry. But what’s important, in general, is really the broader point. When people work hard and put their heart and sweat into something, people — Elon Musk included — appreciate it. That’s the essence of what he pushes and inspires all of Tesla to do on a daily basis.
I even have another idea, Elon, if you’re reading this. I would totally love to collab. Make jewelry with Boring Bricks and use the profits to help organizations such as homeless shelters, food banks, and other nonprofits that help with low-income housing. I am sure there are other artists out there who would love to get creative with materials like Boring Bricks or even scrap steel from SpaceX. Other ideas could include donating part of the sales of Boring Bricks sold as art/jewelry supplies to these nonprofits as well.
Hey @elonmusk , I don’t know what the plan is with Mk1 but I had an idea. A great way to help fund StarShip development would be. When and *if* Mk1 is dissembled, is to cut the sections into pieces(small) and make StarShip necklaces and bracelets from it.
— Austin Barnard🧢🚀 (@austinbarnard45) November 21, 2019
Personally, I don’t solder — I use wire — but I know several jewelry artisans who would love to get their hands on some SpaceX steel to get creative with it. I would give it a try, too. Whether or not he takes these ideas and goes with him, we all know that Elon listens to us when we ask him things or pitch ideas to him (if he sees the tweets). This is empowering because it shows that he cares about the lives he is impacting with his products, whether they are cars, tunnels, or rocket ships.