How Would YOU Design a Home for Disaster Victims?comments (62) January 15th, 2010 in Blogs
The neccesary reaction to any massive natural disaster can generally be divided into two categories:
• Immediate needs: food, water, medical care, and security
• Long-term solutions: safe housing, cleanup, and reconstruction
When it comes to Haiti and the recent 7.2-magnitude earthquake that was akin to "kicking a man when he's down," the immediate needs are getting plenty of necessary attention. Nearly half-a-billion dollars has already been pledged by the global community and planeloads of food, water, tents, medical supplies, and blankets are flowing in from more than 20 governments from all across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. In fact, so much aid is arriving at Port-au-Prince's Toussaint Louverture International Airport, that bottlenecks are actually slowing down the distribution of much-needed supplies.
But what happens when the immediacy has died down and the bulk of nobel volunteers head back to their regular lives. For the residents of Haiti, the need for assistance will be just as great as it is today, only in a different way. In short, long-term housing is going to become a serious, pressing issue very soon, and the building community has a responsibility to pitch in with viable solutions that the people of Haiti can easily implement.
Designing a Simple Structure Any Layman Could Build
I'm asking for your help in coming up with a list of requirements for a simple, 500 square-foot home that any healthy, able-bodied man or woman could construct themselves, in Haiti, using a minimum of resources. To get you started, here are a few of my own suggestions:
• Use construction materials that are easily available: cinderblock, zinc roofing, rammed earth.
• Come up with multiple approaches for each element of the structure. We should give folks more than one option regarding topics like "how to pour a footing." What would you use as a form? Old trash cans? Get creative!
• How would we address ventilation in a hot and humid tropical climate?
Lets pool our resources and come up with some concrete ideas to address an imminent housing crisis. Post your comments and suggestions below and if you've got design ideas you'd like to share, feel free to scan them in and upload them via our Gallery page.
posted in: Blogs, architecture, haiti, disaster relief, third world, developing world, sustainable housing