This is the second post of a continuing story of non-traditional living situations. I started this series with my post, A Billion Squatters.
Because of the ubiquity of the shopping cart and its association with the homeless, some designers have come up with the "ultimate" shopping-cart-as-home. Of course, these newly designed carts aren't what a homeless person would find out in the wilds of the city. Some of these newer designs are purely artistic and design projects and others are intended to be given to the homeless for free (the only way they would take one, I'm sure). Donors pay for the carts and they are given away.
The most written about modern cart is the EDAR which is an acronym for Everyone Deserves A Roof. It is a specially designed cart that folds out into a bed with a tent attached to it. The project was started by Peter Samuelson who was amazed by how many homeless people he saw every day in Los Angeles, CA. Apparently L.A. has the most homeless people of any city in the country. He got the Art Center College of Design to come up with an idea for a mobile living space for the homeless. There has been over 170 of them distributed to the homeless so far. It's not intended as a solution to homelessness, just something that could help these people a bit in the short term.
Gregor Timlin. It converts into a shelter. .It was designed for a specific group of homeless that collect bottles or cans to recycle, thereby making some money. It's pretty cool looking.. The downside is you have to unload all your stuff in order to sleep in it. I tried to go to his website, gregortimlin.com, but it wouldn't load. See more pictures of the Shelter Cart.
I would guess that some of the people receiving one of these specialized carts might be suspicious of them. They are pretty cool - cool enough to steal. One of the advantages of a regular shopping cart is they are less likely to be stolen and, if someone's cart is stolen, easy to replace.
In 2006 European design ezine, Designboom, announced a contest to design a Shelter In A Cart. Some interesting designs came from that. Only a few of the designs did not require you to remove all your belongings before sleeping in them.
Next report: Cardboard Houses.