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 -
Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Life imitates art imitates life.
Galini 3D Printed Sleeping Pod Tiny Houses
'The houses are prefabricated units...' - Clifford Simak, 1952.
Seasteading Floating Cities
'It was a remarkable island, circular, about half a kilometer in diameter.' - Otfrid von Hanstein, 1930.
Aequoreas Floating Village 3D Printed From Ocean Junk
'... the Floating Island chain of independent international corporate entities.' - Larry Niven, 2000.
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.
Ontario Starts Guaranteed Minimum Income
'Earned by just being born.'
Is There Life In Outer Space? Will We Recognize It?
'The antennae of the Life Detector atop the OP swept back and forth...'
Space Traumapod For Surgery In Spacecraft
' It was a ... coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself...'
Tesla Augmented Reality Hypercard
'The hypercard is an avatar of sorts.'
A Space Ship On My Back
''Darn clever, these suits,' he murmured.'
Biomind AI Doctor Mops Floor With Human Doctors
'My aim was just not to lose by too much.' - Human Physician participant.
Fuli Bad Dog Robot Is 'Auspicious Raccoon Dog' Bot
Bad dog, Fuli. Bad dog.
Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'
You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'
Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'
Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.
Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.
Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'
First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.
VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'
Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories