A British man has come up with an ingenious and attractive solution for helping homeless people stay safe while sleeping in urban areas.
James Furzer, an architectural technician from the University of Greenwich, designed “parasitic sleeping pods” to provide a safe place for homeless people to sleep. His award-winning design features an accessible ladder to a lightweight, modular sleeping pod that attaches against buildings and hovers above street level.
Though the pods aren’t the ultimate solution to homelessness, they offer the homeless safety and shelter from harsh weather conditions and street violence. According to studies, those who are homeless in the U.K. are 13 times more likely to be victims of violent acts, including theft, sexual assault and property damage, than those who are not.
Furzer envisions his sleeping pods as keeping the homeless out of harm’s way. By enlisting assistance from charities, Furzer explains that the sleeping pods will be monitored so that users could enter and exit safely. Such organizations dedicated to fighting homelessness would also oversee the upkeep of the pods so that they remain tidy and hospitable. He told Upworthy:
“The homeless community needs to be given a safe, warm, dry space to stay.”
The award-winning architect’s proposal is an antidote to the rise of hostile architecture meant to deter homeless people from resting nearby in London’s public spaces. Designs such as “anti-homeless spikes” in public spaces are meant to keep homeless people from sitting against buildings. Furzer elaborated to Upworthy on the downfall of these types of architectural designs:
“These are implemented as a deterrent to the homeless, not aimed at helping.
“I feel it is the duty of us as humans to be compassionate to others in need and not treat them as vermin.”
Furzer’s vision has yet to become a reality, as he explains the need to acquire funding for a prototype. Other obstacles he hopes to overcome include political roadblocks, location availability and public reaction. Still, Furzer remains optimistic that his design will make a difference in society:
“If my concept can help engage a shift in the mindset of the public towards the homeless then I feel it is a success.”