Aggravated by limited upward mobility and a dire housing crisis, LA County’s homeless population has shot up 23 percent to nearly 58,000 in the past year alone, according The Los Angeles Times. Their increased visibility recently guilted voters into passing (by a two-thirds majority) a sales tax increase (Measure H) and a $1.2 billion bond initiative (Measure HHH) to provide housing and amenities. With the city now better financially equipped to tackle the problem, a new issue arises: what to build?
In recent years, the architectural community has become heavily involved, in both positive and negative ways, with the chronic global issue of homelessness. In response, James Furzer of UK-based Spatial Design Architects has undertaken a photographic analysis exploring defensive forms of urban design. Using the typology of public benches in London, Furzer documents public fixtures which act as deterrents to rough sleepers, essentially denying a right to the city for those who ultimately have no choice but to be there.
With ever-increasing rates of chronic and veteran homelessness amongst low-income households, Los Angeles’ pressing demand for affordable social housing is being addressed by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, with their design of MLK1101 Supportive Housing, which has just begun construction.
Working in collaboration with non-profit Clifford Beers Housing, LOHA’s intention is to focus on health and community within a comfortable environment. This is achieved through a number of strategies, including exposing the building towards the street to integrate the building into the neighborhood creating strong community ties.
In the United States alone, more than 125 million plastic bottles are discarded each day, 80 percent of which end up in a landfill. This waste could potentially be diverted and used to construct nearly 10,000, 1200-square-foot homes (taking in consideration it takes an average of 14,000 plastic bottles to build a home that size). Many believe this process could be a viable option for affordable housing and even help solve homelessness.