Thursday, November 22, 2012
Behold the Sea Box
From the NY Observer:
For the past five years, the Bloomberg administration has been quietly developing a first-of-its-kind disaster housing program, creating modular apartments uniquely designed for the challenges of urban living. Carved out of shipping containers, these LEGO-like, stackable apartments offer all the amenities of home. Or more, since they are bigger, and brighter, than the typical Manhattan studio. It’s the FEMA trailer of the future, built with the Dwell reader in mind.
“It’s nicer than my apartment,” David Burney, commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction, said in a phone interview last week. Along with the city’s Office of Emergency Management and at least a dozen other city, state and federal agencies and private contractors, Mr. Burney has been trying to figure out how best to house the tens or even hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who could find themselves without a home following a major disaster.
Like Hurricane Sandy. Initial estimates of those forced into long-term homelessness—from months to years—are 20,000 in the five boroughs alone. Over the weekend, Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri told the Times that at least 400 homes would have to be demolished along the coast, with 500 more still to be evaluated.
“There’s nobody who wouldn’t like to see a deployable solution available now,” said Lance Jay Brown, an architecture professor at CUNY who has been advising the city on its plans. “But nobody has this, nobody. I think the Japanese are working on something, given all they’ve gone through, but I can tell you, New York is really ahead of the curve when it comes to long-term disaster housing.”