We’re living in some interesting times. Economic turmoil, natural disasters, man-made disasters, Global Warming, Global Cooling, Climate Change, El Nino, Lindsy Lohan and the Backstreet Boys reunion….it can seem as if everything is spiraling out of control. No matter what your stand is on any of these “hot button” issues, the truth is there are people in need, people without homes, people who have lost loved ones, people that need to rebuild and they need help and support NOW.
But what’s the answer? How do we (either through tax dollars or individual contributions) do the most good not just in the short term but in helping the permanent rebuilding of entire communities for the better? The typical answer is to send in FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) and they organize food/medical supplies, clean-ups and even on occasion drop off those incredibly unsightly and sometimes dangerous trailers for people to live in temporarily (NOT an ideal situation for anyone – just look at the Katrina aftermath and the nightmare FEMA trailers created there). And this is only the typical “short term” solution that seems to be most comfortable and safe because it requires nothing on our part aside from the sacrifice of a few more tax dollars down the road.
It’s time for architects, engineers, celebrities, politicians and everyday citizens to talk about real solutions for the future of these cities that are faced with large scale rebuilding efforts and to implement them. In today’s world with today’s technology, infrastructure and offsite modular construction capabilities, why are we not talking about a permanent restructuring and deployment of modern modular homes that are affordable and can be fabricated quickly and assembled on site to get people back to their daily lives? This is the conversation I want to start here, now, with you.
People need housing. Plain and simple. What should they look like? Should we provide a temporary fix, a band-aid? Or should we provide something that is permanent, sustainable and affordable? This should be an easy choice. The reality is, it’s just as easy to provide permanent, modern, ecological and economical housing (both single family and multi-family) on a large scale and in such a way, in partnership with urban planners and other infrastructurists, to create a better, more efficient and more beautiful community for generations to come than it is to plop down a few trailers that will only take up needed construction space and need to be removed later.
Now for the “how”.
This really is the easy part. Right now there are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of architects and designers out there with affordable housing solutions ready to be deployed (including one or two on this site). They are modular, pre-fabricated and easily assembled without the need for specialized labor. So why don’t we use them? Why don’t we leverage the power of the federal gov’t, through FEMA, and the private sector to task these companies to streamline these affordable housing options and get them in the hands of homeowners WHO NEED HOMES. We could literally rebuild whole communities in a matter of weeks not months or years. Allow people to get back to their daily lives, normalcy and allow the real rebuilding efforts to take place. We have a chance, an opportunity for real change. Will we take it?