The Living Village is back for its second year at SMU, serving as an interactive display and teaching tool for 2012 Engineering & Humanity Week. Through Friday, April 20, students will live, cook and sleep in temporary shelters designed for international refugees and rapidly expanding urban populations.
Students, faculty and members of the North Texas community began building the village on the lawn just west of the Engineering Quad on Wednesday, April 11, preparing to showcase a variety of shelter technologies with applications for people displaced by war and natural disasters, as well as impoverished urban dwellers in the developing world. The village’s temporary residents – student volunteers from disciplines all over campus – will be without electricity and running water in the shelters, as is frequently the case for refugee populations.
Many of this year’s shelters are designed for longer-term habitation than last year’s, and two are student projects. Harvey Lacey is back with his popular recycled plastic Ubuntu Blox House, fresh from exhaustive earthquake testing that proved his house to be a potential fit for quake-prone places like Haiti. And bcWORKSHOP’s Brent Brown has brought his Rapido Prototype, the largest structure in the village, developed as part of the state of Texas’ Natural Disaster Housing Reconstruction Plan. During Engineering & Humanity Week, bcWORKSHOP designers will seek feedback from SMU students and visitors to help them improve the project’s design, construction process, deployment method and performance.
Read more about the innovative structures that will make up the Living Village. The public is welcome to tour the village and speak with student participants, who also will be blogging their experiences.
The Living Village also will host a special event at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19, designed to spotlight approaches to preserve culture among populations that are housed long-term in refugee camps.
Written by Kimberly Cobb