I was flipping through a book about tiny houses last night—A Little House of My Own: 47 Grand Designs for 37 Tiny Houses by Lester Walker—and this design by Christopher Egan was really exciting to me. It was part of a 1986 exibit called “The Homeless at Home” at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in NYC.
In the book, Walker quotes Egan as approaching the project thus: “Assuming a person must live temporarily on the sidewalk, how can we provide shelter that begins to offer the dignity that each member of society deserves?”
The cart design was inspired by “the basic concerns defined by the homeless themselves: shelter from climate extremes, safe storage of personal belongings, personal hygiene facilities, and privacy.” The idea is that the carts would be used when permanent shelters were full—though, based on this post on Picture the Homeless’ blog, “What is one thing everyone should know about NYC’s homeless shelters?,”1 these carts seem infinitely preferable.
Egan pictured the carts stored in a warehouse and then “driven in small caravans to parks, vacant lots, and urban plazas. Some might be clustered in small cart villages around city-owned pavilions that have been convereted to clinics or bathhouses where the carts are hooked up to central utilities. Others could be set alone on wide sidewalks, where they rely on their own storage tanks and generators.”
I can’t find any evidence of anyone ever building these, but I do wish someone would.
1 A choice quote: “The security guards treat you like an inmate, as if you are in jail.” (Salaam Ellis)