This is kind of cool. Wired has a story about an inflatable house.
“…the “Life Cube” from startup Inflatable World is designed to provide. Packaged into a four-foot-tall cube, it inflates into a 12-foot-tall structure built from the same thick plastic as a bouncy house.
Designed to provide shelter and basic amenities for people in the days and weeks after a disaster, the instant housing will come with a $3,900 price tag, so the company’s first market could be wealthy survivalists.
“We need a versatile design that is completely self-contained that gives you instant survival,” said Nick Pedersen, business development head of the fledgling startup, based in Santa Barbara, California. “We’ll get you through the critical first 72 hours and beyond.”
Inflatable World isn’t the first company to focus on short-term housing for disaster-struck areas. In fact, a wide variety of architects and builders, notably TED-grantee Cameron Sinclair and Architecture for Humanity, have designed structures to keep people alive in the aftermath of calamity. But Inflatable World sees a market between the long-term FEMA trailers and the tents used in the immediate recovery efforts.
In FEMA’s 2008 Disaster Housing Plan, officials identified the period after the initial disaster but before homes can be rebuilt as a major priority.
“Finding and providing the actual structures to house displaced disaster victims during this interim housing period is the most tangible challenge that emergency management officials, at all levels of government, face,” they wrote (.pdf).
In developing countries, providing basic shelter after disasters is even more difficult. When a major quake struck Pakistan in October 2005, 74,000 people died, most of them from exposure to the elements in the weeks after the initial disaster. Just last week, another major earthquake struck Pakistan, prompting Red Cross officials to note the “urgent need for shelter and blankets.”