Earlier this month, the Justice Department filed a statement of interest related to a case in Boise, Idaho, saying it’s unconstitutional to ban people from sleeping outside in public places. There aren’t enough shelters to house all the homeless people, and people need to sleep. “Enforcing the anti-camping ordinances and criminalizing sleeping in public violates the Eighth Amendment, because it is no different from criminalizing homelessness itself,” according to the document.
Some areas of London have metal spikes installed in areas where homeless people might otherwise bed down, leading artists to leave out mattresses to cushion the otherwise unwelcoming “defensive architecture.” Around 750 people sleep on London’s streets each night, and architectural technician James Furzer wants to go even further by creating pods for them that would attach to the sides of buildings. To fund the prototype, he’s put the project on Indiegogo.
“The rough sleepers of London need somewhere safe to sleep for an evening,” he explains on the crowdfunding site. “If actual rooms cannot be provided, then I feel a safe sheltered area needs to be supplied.” The “parasitic pods” will be made of materials similar to “host” building, so while it physically sticks out from the building, it still blends in, figuratively speaking.
The pods would attach to the buildings with brackets, several feet off the ground. They’d be accessible by a ladder, which could be stored so as not to block the street.
Furzer, of Spatial Design Architects, recently won the “Space for New Visions” competition with his “Homes for the Homeless” project. He’s hoping to raise around $23,500 for the project by having people pledge $15 for a postcard or $31 for a print. While Furzer admits there are some environmental, structural, and social issues to consider with the pods, he thinks with careful planning, the project can make London a little safer for those who live on its streets.