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Bench to Bedroom: Urban Furniture Turned Homeless Shelters

http://weburbanist.com/2014/07/24/bench-to-bedroom-public-furniture-turned-homeless-shelters/

"Whereas London and Montreal have installed spikes on the sidewalks to keep homeless people from getting too comfortable, Vancouver offers a kind welcome with benches that transform into mini-shelters. A nonprofit called RainCity Housing teamed up with Spring Advertising to create the modified public benches in order to provide a covered place to sleep while simultaneously raising awareness….”

Cadbury’s was an early pioneer of ethical business. Construction of their first factory included thousands of homes for its workers, literally building a community on site. All homes had gardens and access to ample green space. These homes are still standing, and many of their 25,000 residents still work for Cadbury’s, still renting their homes from the trust that was created to look after these community assets.
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Billboard Homes for the Homeless

Project Gregory is a non profit effort that converts existing billboard structures into affordable housing units. Maintenance costs, skills, and resources are covered through funds raised by the advert space and partner reciprocity.The Republic of Slovakian project utilises the electricity used to keep the billboard lit at night to power the home’s interior.

This project is open source and Project Gregory encourages all cities in all countries to construct new, innovative designs and involve as  many companies as possible to help make a difference.

ClimateWorks is a San Francisco based foundation whose mission is to support public policies that prevent dangerous climate change and promote global prosperity. This infographic about wlkable neighborhoods is part of a document called Planning Cities for People, which was prepared for the Chinese government. The document, which contains 8 research-based recommendations that lead to prosperous, low-carbon urban areas, uses richly illustrated maps and diagrams to present examples of street-grids that promote walking, prioritize bicycle networks, create mixed-use neighborhoods and support high-quality transit.

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Dithyrambalina is a magical community installation and a village of musical, playable houses. That’s right. The structures themselves are recycled musical instruments, ready to express the joy, pain, or wonder of anyone who cares to take the time to play them.

Even before the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans had been afflicted by huge numbers of run down properties and abandoned lots. These tragic symbols are the backdrop of city-wide dysfunction, but they are also the tableau in front of which New Orleans’ rich musical and visual heritage parades and performs. This project is an imaginative attempt to redress the futility of this blight by finding within it vast resources of salvageable materials. By turning our salvaged construction into a music box that is free, public, and playful we are inviting the wider community to imagine and participate in a new landscape of potential and possibility.

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The Depressing Industrial City of Norilsk | Via

The city was founded in 1935, as a slave labor camp, and later as a settlement for those working in mining and metallurgic operation. Located at the foot of the 1,700-meter high Putoran Mountains, where occurs some of the largest nickel deposits on earth, Norilsk is a hotbed for mining and smelting industries. The city contains the world’s largest heavy metals smelting complex, producing more than 20 percent of the world’s nickel, 50 percent of its palladium, more than 10 percent of its cobalt, and 3 percent of its copper. Norilsk’s exports make up more than 2 percent of Russia’s GDP.

The average life expectancy of the workers is ten years shorter than the national average. Residents suffer from numerous respiratory diseases, and the incidents of cancer, blood and skin disorders is high. Only 4% of adults in the city are healthy.

it’s obvious that those who live and work in Norilsk do so for the money, but even those who voluntarily came here to make money are eager to escape. But leaving the city is not easy, especially for the older residents on pension, and with a family and apartment. Property prices are low in Norilsk, which means they cannot sell and leave the city, because even if they did, it’s impossible to buy anything with the money in other regions.

They live, work, spend and reproduce for the mining company. The town’s isolation means they pour their wages into company-owned shops and facilities. The money goes back to the company, and eventually people pass away.

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The billboard that could house the homeless

A Slovakian design agency has come up with a small but beautifully designed living space fitted into the triangle created by adjacent billboards. Now they just need funding …

This home measures little more than 18 sq metres, but it contains all the elements of modern urban living. The walls are clad in wood. The radiator hangs vertically. Gleaming white fittings and a white floor reflect light. And as befits well-planned small spaces, the bed occupies a raised platform, with storage below. The bed has been thoughtfully placed at the rear of the property and is therefore at the furthest point from the main road.

Ah, yes. There will always be a main road, because this home has been designed to fit inside the triangle created by two adjacent billboards.

"Every home has its advantages and disadvantages," says Matej Nedorolík of Design Develop, the Slovakian agency that has come up with idea. The billboards’ electricity powers the house, which sits on stilts. The shower is built into one of the angles.

Nedorolík, 26, works as a business partner at a spa in the city of Banská Bystrica. He and his colleagues at Design Develop are all recent graduates. “Project Gregory”, as they have named this initiative, was the brainchild of a friend who came up with the design for his final degree, and wishes to remain anonymous.

So have any triangular homes been commissioned? “Not yet,” says Nedorolík. “We are waiting to see if there is interest from investors because our company hasn’t got money. We need some kind of human that wants to invest in this project.” Surely there are some of those out there.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/shortcuts/2014/jul/02/billboard-that-could-house-homeless

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