Disaster designing … solutions are hitech, yet cost prohibitive

by James

Emergency Shelter

With Southern California reeling from wildfires that are leaving nearly a half million at least temporarily homeless, the notion of a designing an emergency shelter doesn’t seem all that far-fetched. In fact, its down-right practical. We’ve seen it before, such as this puzzle like design idea which we reported on earlier, and disposable, festival style concept made of cardboard that can also double as a billboard. There’s plenty of other ideas out there and TREEHUGGER has found them.

But the main problem is the time and costs of shipping a shelter that is strong enough to live in and yet, is quick and easy to setup. Shipping costs alone can make a shelter design impractical, say experts in the field. But the important part is how to house disaster support facilities – such as water, food, and sanitation. For a temporary stay of a few days, tents can easily do the job. And there are some that can be setup in seconds, or even minutes.

A design by Patrick Wharram, called the Lightweight Emergency Shelter – seeks to bridge the gap. It’s lightweight, built of aluminum polls sewed into recycled polyester, and is one piece for easy setup and shipping.

But longer term solutions require long term housing options, and that’s just not something that can be designed, much less set up, on the fly.

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