Homeless Small Living Spaces: Construct on Vacant Walls

Homeless Small Living Spaces: Construct on Vacant Walls

The exposed sides of buildings could become home to apartment complexes of small units, to give people small spaces of their own instead of sharing space at a shelter. What’s wrong with shelters for the homeless? Unfortunately, a lot.

Let’s take New York City. On a given night, more than 63,000 New York residents spend the night in shelters that are public, have safety issues and may have cleanliness concerns.Thousands more live on the street. There’s a huge shortage of shelters. But, it’s expensive to invest in new shelters – costly to build and everyone knows land in New York City isn’t cheap.

There’s a lot of reasons New York City homelessness is at the critical level but for now, I’d like to talk about a potential solution.

A Norwegian architect, Andreas Tjeldflaat who lives in New York City came up with a different conceptualization. He looked at “vertical” land – that is using exposed building walls that creates shelter space that is safe, clean and private.

His idea is to use exposed building walls to hold a frame of scaffolding. This frame would hold tiny, hexagon-shaped housing models suspended vertically.  Think of a man-made vertical beehive. Each model would be made with a prefab aluminum shell and a 3D-printed out of recycled plastic. Small . . . only enough room for a small bed, chair and storage, it would share a bathroom with other units.

It’s a flexible design that can be constructed along any vacant wall and taken down easily.  Plus, almost any vacant wall provides the necessary framework.

The module would be insulated to protect the people inside from extreme temperatures and would come with a ventilation system to keep the space comfortable. A staircase built into the scaffolding supplies the entrance.

According to the website, “this massive and acute problem is not only a tragedy for the affected people, but it is also a large economical burden for the city. For perspective, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) has an annual operating budget of $955,300,000.” Tjeldflaat is now in talks with potential partners and funders in New York City and elsewhere to take the project beyond a conceptual design.

The name of the website is WelcomeHomed.com. Kudos to the architect. https://www.framlab.com/homed