As the global refugee crisis continues, the demand for suitable housing is only going to increase.
Nobody knows that as much as the Netherlands.
In 2015, close to 60,000 refugees arrived in the small country.
Their solution wasn’t exactly ideal and involved the opening of an abandoned prison as temporary public housing for people fleeing war and violence.
Armed with a will to do better, in January 2016, the Netherlands launched a design competition as an innovative solution. Called “A Home Away From Home,” the competition asked entrants to rethink the idea of public housing and design temporary housing for refugees and disaster victims.
The dwellings represent fully functioning homes rather than simple shelters, complete with amenities, solar power and water purification systems.
Designs included things like the Farmyard Shelter (pictured above), which transforms vacant farmland into mini villages to produce a self-functioning DIY economy. Thanks to the cube design of the structures, dozens can be stacked, placed together, and transported easily.
Meanwhile, Comfort City is designed for cities that lack space for a large number of refugees. Its modular, flexible and adaptable design allows it to be easily constructed in empty industrial buildings.
The Solar Cabin (pictured below) actually generates revenue and electricity thanks to a solar-panelled roof that generates more energy than is needed to power the home, allowing residents to sell electricity back to the local grid.
Another more environmentally sustainable design are these cube-like creations from Finch Evolutionary Wooden Buildings. The portable cubes feature built-in water purifiers, are run on solar-powered batteries, and have a vacuum toilet system that recycles water on site.
Another solution involved styrofoam towers that offer low-waste housing for refugees processed at reception sites. The insulated, waterproof and fire resistant dwellings have all the features of a home, including a sink, shower, toilet and beds.
These compact home designs, and ones like these designed by Ikea, are definitely worth exploring as the global refugee crisis (and housing crisis in general) continues.