homelessness might not be an architectural problem...but a societal problem

H. C. Covington -- I CAN America (icanamerica@email.msn.com)
Tue, 8 Jun 1999 03:44:13 -0500


As soon as you house the homeless they are not homeless.

From: "Christopher K.Egan" <cegan@dcci.com>
Subject: Re: HOMELESS SHELTERS
Date: 04 Jun 1999 00:00:00 GMT
Organization: Egan/Martinez Design
Newsgroups: alt.architecture

David Fish wrote:  Certainly someone has some thoughts on an appropriate
response to housing
                           the homeless:


David...

You are asking a good question...and it's one I looked at back in the
80s.  I'll try to reply later, but first I would like to remind you
that, surprisingly, homelessness might not be an architectural
problem...but a societal problem.  As soon as you house the homeless
they are not homeless.

In NYC there used to be a common building type called "Single Room
Occupancy" hotels...low-cost short-term housing....but many people saw
them as contributing to crime, so it became illegal to build new ones,
and many old ones were closed down....a short time later there were a
lot of people living on the street!  What a surprise!  You tear down the
only housing some people can afford, and then you get a wave of
homelessness!

Anyway...I did a hypothetical project in 1984 that tried to address the
need for human dignity in the face of street-living...it was a reaction
against a comment by my previous employer (a well-known NYC architect)
that architectural design is a service for the rich.

You can see my proposal in Harvard Architectural Review #7, in the book
"Tiny Houses" by Lester Walker, and in the July/August 1986 or 97 issue
of "Archi-Cree" from Paris.  I guess it's time to post it on the
website.

Christopher
............................................................
Egan-Martinez designs
San Antonio, Texas &
Mexico City, Mexico

Christopher Egan, Architect
Ana Martinez, Graphic Designer & Food Stylist

E-MAIL:  cegan@dcci.com
WEBSITE:  http://user.dcci.com/cegan