More than 45 million people around the world are displaced from their homes each year due to natural disasters or armed conflict. Displacement leads to vulnerability, suffering, violence, sickness and sometimes death as people are seldom able to find adequate basic housing and infrastructure they need to get their lives back on track, often for months, if not years.
A new project at indiegogo, by the company called Reaction Housing, was inspired by a styrofoam cup turned upside down. The idea was conceived of by founder and CEO Michael McDaniel, an American who witnessed the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Thousands of New Orleans residents were crowded into the New Orleans Superdome and the Houston Astrodome where conditions were extremely uncomfortable, unhealthy and got worse over time.
Working over a period of seven years, McDaniel began building prototypes of a rapid response emergency housing system in his backyard which went through many designs, culminating in the Exo housing unit. The Exo is a low-cost, durable, transportable and easy to assemble housing unit that can quickly bring comfort to suffering families. The units are 80 sq. feet and cost $5,000 each. By contrast, FEMA trailers cost $20,000.
The Eco features:
- energy efficient doors and skylights for plenty of natural light
- digital door locks to keep housing, secure and safe for inhabitants
- aircraft-grade aluminum
- rugged comp posit skins
- insulated for climate control
- capable of connecting to electricity, heat and air-conditioning
An Idea Now Supported by a Talented & Experienced Team
McDaniel’s current team includes Graeme Waltzkin, Thomas Brady, Kristina Loring and James Okumura , who collectively bring experience in design at Disney, the US Department of Defense, and in wireless mesh platforms.
The company has raised investment capital to begin operations and is working to place Exo prototypes out into real life situations to test them. As the team learns about the experience of users, it will tweak the design and then move into mass production.
Reaction Housing is now in the process of partnering with international aid organizations who will help deliver Exo Housing to families who are in need. Currently, Exo Housing is being used in Syria where tens of thousandsof people have been displaced, as well as in Haiti, where housing is still in short supply.
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References and related content:
- Reaction Housing Stacks Up Against Trailers : TreeHugger
- Reaction Housing’s Affordable Portable Launches at SXSW | Dwell
- 8 Start-ups Fighting Back Against Natural Disasters | Inc.com