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Creative Engagement With Global Housing Crises
Homes For Less: Emily Carr’s homeless housing project finally finds a home 

Photo by Ahmad Kavousian

Thanks to Nick over at Critical Spatial Practice for letting me know about this great project by Emily Carr students in 2008. It is highly reminiscent of the house-people-yourself efforts of the Mad Housers in Atlanta who make single-person homes that are placed without permission into the spaces of the city.

What makes this project different is that the designers really see their small houses as a viable, affordable, project for the city of Vancouver to take on. The houses, each 64 square feet, would be situated in groups of 10-12 around a shared kitchen and toilet facilities. The city of Vancouver was approached about adopting this project, which costs approximately $1500 (Canadian) per tiny house. An entire installment of this micro-community "could be made for about what the government is paying to renovate a single suite in one of their Single Resident Occupancy (SRO) hotels scattered around the city."

It seems that the project has found a home and an organization to help realize it. The report below is from January of this year that appeared in Megaphone, a journal for homeless folks in Vancouver. I haven't been able to find any updates on the status of the project and if any one reads this and knows, would appreciate further information.


Homes For Less: Emily Carr’s homeless housing project finally finds a home
By Amy Juschka

After months of uncertainty, Vancouver’s smallest housing development has finally found a home. A series of 64 square-foot homes built last year by Emily Carr students have been adopted by the Vancouver Aboriginal Transformative Justice Society and will now provide shelter for a few of Vancouver’s growing homeless population.

Despite the city’s pressing need for more short- and long-term housing developments, no Lower Mainland municipality would take them. It was almost too ironic: a housing project for the homeless that was homeless itself. Happily though, the project is going to be put to good use.

“I'm excited that our project won’t just be something we can include in our portfolio,” says David Cha, 22, a third-year industrial design student at Emily Carr who, along with four of his classmates, helped to design and build one of the homes. “Seeing it actually being used and being part of making a change in our community means so much to me as an individual and as a student.”

Painted a vibrant orange, Cha’s design is a staggered structure featuring multifunctional furniture, two small patios and is meant to be equipped with a green wall, which would provide added insulation and could be used to grow fruits and vegetables by its occupant.

Click for the full article.


Nov 22 (2009) (UTC) - Cool Structures
Great looking little structures. You know we could all benefit from less structure to live in. Too much following the "jones" right off a cliff. We all need to step back and ask the question, "Just how much house do we need?"
Sep 23 (2010) (UTC) - housing
I have to admire the initiative to help people, but I must say that such housing just makes me think about slavery and how slaves were treated. We could say that poor people are like slaves now that will be happy with ever people give them, but this is not the right approach in my opinion. We should try and give them real opportunities so they can have a normal house like the rest of us.

park model homes
Oct 18 (2010) (UTC) - Math lesson
This is an inspiring project. I'm using it a resource in the geometry class I teacher to help the students understand how to apply what they learn to do something good for the community. thanks for the inspiration :-)
Jan 5 (2011) (UTC)
The problem with houses is not the actual building price but it's about the price of the land the house is built on; finding land close enough to facilities as electricity, plumbing, water or drain and cheap enough to build affordable houses for homeless is the real challenge here.
Cabinet Refacing
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Oct 18 (2012) (UTC)
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