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Conflict and Natural Disasters
 
Homelessness, a tale of two cities
I am currently writing my third year dissertation and the subject i have chosen is homelessness. The very first design project i undertook was to design a relief shelter for victims of natural disasters. I constructed a cardboard shelter which could accomodate five individuals, in a small space which included a sleeping area and a social area. Ever since that first project i have been interested in finding a solution to homelessness. If cheap, strong materials are widely available, why is homelessness rife worldwide? The focus of my dissertation will be the staggering difference in the scale of homelessness between an affluent city like Dublin (i'm Irish), and a poverty stricken city such as Mexico or Rio. I feel strongly about this subject and i believe it is much more important for architecture students to focus on grass roots issues such as this, rather than visually impressive monuments, because once we can solve the fundamental problems the rest will naturally fall into place. If anybody can offer me any information on the subject of homelessness in developing countries, or indeed possible solutions to the situation, i would greatly appreciate it.
Brian Finegan
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Homelessness, a tale of two cities
Hi Brian, It felt good to hear your strong views about homelessness. I am doing a Master's program in Design in the US and I also designed a shelter which is more like a house using cheap materials. I would also be interested in working on the details and make a prototype to see it in the field. I am very interested in using basic materials and high technology to generate solutions for disadvantaged communities. I think designers have a chance to make a real contribution there. It would be nice to hear more from you...
-Jaladhi
Jaladhi Pujara
Homelessness, a tale of two cities
Hi Brian, You should look at Krzysztof Wodiczkos work. His work is published in many journals and in his book Critical Vehicles. He has designed machines and prosthetic equipment for not only the homeless but to empower immigrants (strangers in the city). One of his designs is called the Homeless Vehicle that uses the shopping cart as a unit to create a shelter + working space for a homeless person. His ideas are very interesting and his essays are valuable.

For more info on Professor Wodiczko:

http://architecture.mit.edu/people/profiles/prwodicz.html

Good luck on your project.

Lina Sergie
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