Opening Our Eyes
I’ve had the opportunity to travel to a number of third world countries and communities within the states all throughout my life. l like many of you…am overwhelmed with how horrific the housing situations are for the poor and less fortunate.
Many areas particularly those that have been stricken by natural disasters often have their housing destroyed and do not have the resources or the money to rebuild and change their physical environments so they often have to resort to cardboard homes, tent cities and construction methods that are not sustainable to the elements.
We are all aware of this…we see it everyday on the news or in person…in our travels or in our own communities. Yet we either close our eyes or move on in our busy lives. We simply don’t know how we can make a difference or we don’t have the financial means to do so.
Global Souls Unite
As a global soul I find it difficult to move on and ignore these situations…yet I have been doing it for nearly twenty years when I first saw this in Mexico. Within the city of Juarez there are the shanty towns built out of cardboard…not a house or two but a whole community residing within a stones throw of the manufacturing plants where the occupants work. Undoubtedly making a few dollars a day…then to return to their boxes to take care of their families. We all know of these places…we all wear goods produced from these places. There of course are far too many in this world.
I’m not trying to make you feel guilty. I’m just pointing out the situation and reminding each of us that things are not solved.
If we are to revisit Haiti the conditions since the earthquake are still appalling. Add to that hurricane Tomas that hit the island last week. Can you believe what the people of Haiti have had to endure. Shame on all of our countries inability to not being able to change these sad conditions.
Now don’t get me wrong…I understand the political barriers that prevent those that want to help from making a difference. I understand the millions…even billions that we all donated to the Haitians to make a differnce. And seemingly it has been misused or even stolen.
But somehow…someway…we are all smarter then this. I can’t imagine there isn’t a way to supply Haiti and places like Mexico and hundreds of other places in this world with cost effective housing solutions to at least protect people from the elements.
Design For Impact
As a creative director I am totally engaged when I see unique housing designs and ideas for temporary housing like those from designmind frogdesign’s site.
How is it we can’t seem to leverage these ideas and formulate plans to make them available on a mass scale?
My goal isn’t to build the perfect solution…rather an alternative that is better then a tent or a cardboard home. Running water, gas, electric, working sewers are all important…but most of these areas don’t have the infrastructures to support them. So finding ideas that are iterative and can scale and build upon may be a place to start. Keeping people out of the elements may not sound grandiose to some. But I bet for those living in these conditions… it’s better then a tent or cardboard home.
Using Steel Containers seems to be an idea that has some opportunities depending on the situation such as ideas from yourcasanow but for building mass community opportunities in non-rural environments…the cost of conversion and transporting are challenging. And I’m not out to create interiors that could win a spot in Architecture Digest. Keep it simple, safe, dry and livable.
I’m certain there are a dozens of other such housing alternatives that would suffice that could be affordable solutions to supply around the world and in our communities. Maybe you know of such an alternative…if so I would love to hear about them and share them with my readers.
Maybe…just maybe…someone with the clout or the income or the means will read these ideas or see them on your blog and be able to make the difference.