Thursday, August 7, 2014

Emergency housing for storms, not the homeless

From Brick Underground:

My first impression of the three-bedroom on the edge of Brooklyn Heights? It’s airy and light, 800 square feet, with a view of the Manhattan Bridge and One World Trade Center to boot. Somewhat sparsely furnished, it’s outfitted in a crisp, unfussy style that’s modern without being cold. In short, it’s the opposite of what I’d expect to live in if, say, a tornado had just leveled my apartment building.

But that’s exactly what it is: a prototype of an urban post-disaster shelter that could become New York’s answer in the event of another Hurricane Sandy.

For the last week, Jim McConnell, an assistant commissioner for strategic data in the city’s Office of Emergency Management, and his husband, Joe Hickey, have been acting as guinea pigs, living in the place and recording their observations. Another 30 OEM staffers have signed up to do the same.

Why all the testing? The problem is that in a place as densely populated as New York, other types of post-disaster housing, like the infamous FEMA trailers used in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, don’t work—particularly if victims of a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or explosion have to live in the place for a year or more until permanent housing is built. No, in New York City, we need multi-story accommodations that mimic our full-time abodes.

The prototype, situated on a city-owned lot next door to OEM’s headquarters, is a three-story building with an apartment on each floor: a 500-square-foot one-bedroom on the ground floor, an 800-square-foot three-bedroom on the second floor, and a 500-square-foot one-bedroom on the third floor.

The structure took a mere two days to put up, but it’s built to last for 50 years and can be moved to different sites. As many as 20 of them can go up on a single lot, preferably close to affected neighborhoods so disaster victims can stay close to transit and schools. This past April, the prototype was trucked to the city and constructed at a cost of $1.5 million. (The price should come down if and when it’s mass produced.)

Shouldn't these be built now to alleviate the emergency homeless crisis, and not shelved for 100-year storms? Oh wait, we sold all the city owned land for $1 to developers of luxury condos. Never mind.


Anonymous said...

Do they float?

Anonymous said...

Looks like third-world housing.

Anonymous said...

If we can't even find the space to house the claim to be 8.4 million people here now, where do they plan to put these things? Is this thing going to come equipped with a poor door too?

We're Queens - We Can't Have Nice Things said...

Please bring those to Flooshing - so much better than the shit people are putting up these days - looks like Ikea built it!

Anonymous said...

It is third world housing-- the idea for these came from seeing people in third and fourth world shit-holes use ocean cargo containers as shelters. Now, it's good enough for the idiots who choose to live in storm zones. You know-- the one's that taxpayers will continue to rebuild for free decade after decade after every storm.

Joe Moretti said...

This is supposed to be the "greatest city" in the world.

Was it ever the "greatest city" in the world.

Anonymous said...

The demand for free housing is infinite.

Put a toilet into a 10x10x10 steel storage cube and call it an apartment you can live in for free forever, and you'd have a line of people waiting to sign up that would stretch from City Hall to Montauk Point.

Scott68 said...

I kinda have to agree with the free housing comment. The question is, how long will they stay?