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. Ö 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 -
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.
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.
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.
Soon, Your Tesla Will Follow You Like A Pet
'... follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound.'
Chinese Watrix Gait Recognition Watching You Always
'... those pesky gait-recognition cameras.'
FlexPai Foldable Phone By Royole
'...A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled.'
Oh Yes, We're Building The Rotating Tower In Dubai
'Give me an old-fashioned tetragon on a central pivot every time.'
Bioreactor Helps Legless Frogs Get Their Jump Back
'An alien drug... Used by an insect race... It can repair bones and organs. It can grow new tissue."
Xinhua AI Anchor Puts CGI Face To Automated News
'...a congeries of software agents.'
Wirewax Watching You Watch, Adjusting Your Experience
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'
LawGeex AI Beats 20 Top Lawyers
'The Law Society has strict rules on the use of pseudo-intelligent software - terrified of putting... its members out of work.'
ROAM Robotics Skiing Exoskeleton
'The real genius in the design is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it...'
MIT Headset Lets You Communicate Without Speaking
'The subvocal read nerve signals, letting her enter words by just beginning to will them...'
Exploring Oceans Across The Solar System
'Black liquid flashed past the turbotís infrared eyes.'
SWEEPER Robot Peter Piper Picking Peppers
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant, apparently on caterpillar tracks, cutting off the ripe fruit.'
Oil from Algae - Can It Be Done?
'We dump everything that's waste into the tanks, pump the oil off the top.'
Moving Whole Planets, Revisited
There was a lot of work done on this idea over the years.
Disney Keeps Backups Of Star Wars Franchise Actors
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents...'
Farming In Space Starts With Mycorrhiza
'The inner leaves were beginning to curl faster than the outer leaves.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories