Monday, December 15, 2008

Everyone Deserves a Roof: EDAR

Students at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA competed to create a homeless shelter for the reported 73,000 homeless in Los Angeles, CA.  Students Eric Lindman and Jason Zasz took the honors with a mobile shopping cart-like apparatus.  The cart features bins to hold cans and bottles and other recyclables collected by day.  It folds out to create a sleeping platform, topped by a canvas cover with zippers and windows.  

While a bed in a shelter costs $50,000 - $100,000 to build, the EGAR costs $500.  With mass production the cost could come down to $400.  We thought that the ingenuity and thoughtfulness of the design was applaudable --- especially for the homeless who, often for good reason, are "shelter-resistant."  

We think the design was created for a real user and fits the user's lifestyle rather then being a design object that the homeless must accommodate.  This is a humble, bulky unit.  But it folds up to become a shopping cart by day that can be moved around on its wheels following the often nomadic meanderings of many homeless people.  If as much research and thought went into the design for all clients, there would be, perhaps, more satisfied clients.  These clients, who are a very special segment, had their lifestyle, realities and eccentric needs addressed. They were not imagined to be other then themselves, or the designer's idea of who they should be.  And, better yet, the project was well within budget.  

The project was the brainchild of philanthropist Peter Samuelson.  The LA Times gives us the good news, which we need.

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