Deployable Communities - Design Charrette
Presented by AIA Houston Associate Network Committee
October 11, 2019 - October 12, 2019
Brought to you by the Associate Network
Understanding the value of internodal relationships within the fabric of our cities helps us plan for more vibrant, safe, and healthy environments. Also critical is to understand the socio-economic impact that comes along with development, as most of our cities are experiencing high levels of growth. While this may be marked improvement for some, others may be experiencing displacement and, more speciﬁ cally, homelessness. It is understood that several social factors contribute to this; however, it is undeniable that there is a role that can be played by design. We can accept this as an urban crisis and begin contribution and remediation through a perceptive design approach. AISC and AIA Houston Associate Network are introducing the Deployable Communities Design Charrette that will facilitate solutions generated through Houston’s design community.
Nucleus. The center of everything. As humans, we are social beings and communal in nature. Drawing inferences from the ﬂoating communities of the Amazon River, which is only one of many ﬂoating communities throughout the world, one can appreciate the human desire to join forces, build a nucleus, and help contend with otherwise challenging environments. The center of the nucleus fosters a safety net through the allowance of cooperation, interaction, and communal awareness. In our design approach, we are able to take this organic way of dealing with adversity and further deﬁne it in a methodical blueprint for ready-made communities that may be responsibly deployed to core areas of our cities where our homeless populations exist.
Working with local leadership, religious groups, and government authorities having jurisdiction is critical to the success of deployable communities. The design charrette presents the challenge of how best to derive modular and mobile communities, as well as developing corresponding support programs to be entirely contained within these deployable communities. Working with the stakeholders described above to develop the programs may result in better outcomes. The communities should include basic support facilities such as restrooms and sleeping quarters necessary to accommodate large groups of people and remain deployed in their identiﬁ ed locations for long durations. Participating design teams are challenge to develop an appropriate program from information that is collected through the charrette process and tell the story of how their designs would be implemented in the real world.
The deployable communities are intended to travel from one location to another on an as- need basis and after one community graduates. Steel structures are seen as robust, viable, and as a resilient option for this, further propelled by the modular and transportable nature it affords. Emphasis can also be given to how this material may react to, or work with, external forces, such as ﬂ ooding or contending with catastrophic events through the exploration of hybrid compositions. The mobile nature of these communities is intended to have a net-positive effect in regards to the cost-to-impact ratio give the potential for broad reach and re-usability.
The idea is that the required resources, such as policing, education, and healthcare, will replace the pseudo-permanent encampments that lack basic support services and thus contribute to crime, sanitation, and health issues. The in-place communities will foster “pride of being” and relationship- building with the residents to the point of appreciative improvement allowing opportunities that create a pathway to work-home economic independence. The communal presence will also help identify those in need of more focused mental health services. In turn, local government will divert resources that are otherwise associated with cleaning, responding to crime incidents, and mitigating health concerns attributed to a lack of basic services in homeless encampments.