The Open Architecture Network, profiled this week by BusinessWeek, is part database of architectural projects, part design tool, and part community, established by architect-cum-activist Cameron Sinclair to provide better design solutions for low-cost housing.
To Sinclair, "The one-size-fits-all solution for low-cost housing has failed a million times".
With 1.3 million visitors in June and boasting 5,700 members, the OAN helps architects share knowledge and gain feedback on design proposals.
Sinclair explains: "An architect may put up a design for a project in Sri Lanka and someone with experience there will say, 'You're dealing with a Malai Muslim population, and that design is never going to work. Here's my advice….'"
Here the Web 2.0's cocktail of collaborative technologies is not just a platform for getting chummy with old schoolfriends - it can also have a potentially radical influence on business and industry practices.
Image: Jakarta slum life courtesy of Wikimedia