Shelter After Katrina
In the wake of hurricane Katrina, and the flooding of New Orleans, hundreds of thousands of survivors have been left homeless - probably for many months. Large areas have been devastated, without any services. Readers wrote in suggesting that perhaps science fiction writers had some ideas that could be of practical use, given that these writers had imagined devastation on an even greater scale in many books and stories.
Easily errected temporary quarters should be first on the list; Robert Heinlein wrote about
knockdown cabins before World War II gave us the Quonset hut. Government procurers should be scouring military bases for similar items for rapid deployment in the affected states.
In his 1992 novel Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson writes about the U-Stor-It apartment:
Hiro Protagonist and Vitaly Chernobyl, roommates, are chilling out in their home, a spacious 20 by 30 in a U-Stor-It in Inglewood, California. The room has a concrete slab floor, corrugated steel walls separating it from the neighboring units and ... a roll-up steel door that faces northwest, giving them a few red rays ... when the sun is setting over LAX.
(Read more about the U-Stor-It).
Storage places like these are always partially empty; perhaps the additional units could be rented for the next six months by the government.
In his 1998 novel Idoru, William Gibson wrote about the micro-bachelor:
He used most of his first month's salary to lease a micro-bachelor in a retrofitted parking structure on Broadway Avenue, Santa Monica. … The floor of his apartment was terraced against the original slope of the parking garage.
(Read more about the micro-bachelor)
There have been a lot of complaints about traffic in the newly-crowded cities of Houston and Baton Rouge. Encourage car pooling, and then temporarily convert parking structures to housing - killing two birds with one stone.
There is an interesting analog to the U-Stor-It "apartment" that is a real product - the Quik House, a prefabricated kit house made from recycled shipping containers. The basic model has three bedrooms and two and one-half baths in 2,000 square feet.
The port of Houston handles more foreign tonnage than any other American port; they must have many hundreds of empty containers awaiting use.
(Micro Compact Home m-ch)
Another futuristic product, the m-ch Micro Compact Home, is a 2.6 meter cube that provides a double bed on an upper level and working table and dining space for four or five people on a lower level. The kitchen bar is arranged to serve these two levels. The m-ch is built complete and can be placed anywhere on a level site.
Finally (and as a last resort), John Brunner wrote about paid-avoidance zones in his 1975 novel Shockwave Rider. In the novel, the Great Bay Quake had finally happened in California; the scale of the disaster was too great for even the government to handle. So the government set aside particular areas that would never receive any more than basic services - electricity and water - period. And each resident was paid a small stipend to forego modern living.
Thanks to the readers who wrote in with suggestions for this topic. Take a look at additional reader comments on Katrina shelter.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/8/2005)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 17 )
Related News Stories -
Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
'Did you never see a moving house before?' - Jane Webb Loudon, 1828.
Humans Could Take Up A LOT Less Space
We'd have a lot more room for gardening...
Oh Yes, We're Building The Rotating Tower In Dubai
'Give me an old-fashioned tetragon on a central pivot every time.' - Frank Herbert, 1972.
Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Life imitates art imitates life.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'
Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
'With a buzz... it started out on its journey.'
Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'
Capitalist Big Brother Co-Opts Regular Big Brother
'It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time.'
A Floating Cosmodrome
'...a single perfectly level platform, which rose so high above the water that it was not splashed by the waves.'
First Artificial Memory Formed In Animals
'Is an extra-factual memory that convincing?' Quail asked.
Maintain Your Megastructure
Megastructures have repair robots, which have repair robots, ad infinitum.
Venezuelans Teaching Your Self-Driving Car
‘She wouldn't stop until Antar had told her everything he knew...’
Robothread Robotic Worms Crawling Through Your Brain
Perfect for clot-busting in the human brain. No Raquel Welch and no lasers, though.
Vantablack BMW X6 Is Douglas Adams Approved
'It's so... black!' said Ford Prefect.
Humanoid Robot's Muscles Biomimic Ours
'It is remarkable that the long leverages of their machines are in most cases actuated by a sort of sham musculature...'
Animatronic Robotic Baby Exposed
'The birth of Machine, my robot child...'
Beijing HaiDiLao Robotic Hotpot Restaurant Now Flavored By Artificial Intelligence
'Kantos Kan led me to one of these gorgeous eating places where we were served entirely by mechanical apparatus.'
Plants of the Future - What Should They Be Like
'He almost choked in his astonishment. Mashed potatoes and brown gravy!'
China Deploys Robot Traffic Police
'The robot came up smooth and fast as a rocket...'
Better Than Dune Chromoplastic? This Guy Might Have Done It
'But when Old Father Sun departs, the chromoplastic reverts to transparency in the dark.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories