Written by: Kenneth A. Ballard Edited by: Kellie P.
Rethinking Homeless Living…
Architecture that creates home, hope, and humanity.
Rethinking Homeless Living…
Architecture that creates home, hope, and humanity.
Masters Candidate: Kenneth A. Ballard Thesis Instructor: Ian F. Taberner, AIA Masters of Architecture January 2009 Thesis Candidate: Kenneth A. Ballard Thesis Instructor: Ian F. Taberner, AIA
Table of Contents
Executive Summary ..................................................................................................... 1 Synopsis Thesis Abstract Thesis Statement Terms of Criticism 1 1 2 2
Program Narrative........................................................................................................ 5 Project Description ...................................................................................................... 7 Current Accommodations Direction Residents Project Site 7 9 9 13
Case Studies & Research ........................................................................................... 22 Rich Architecture for the Poor-Hassan Fathy Habitat ’67 – 1967 – Moshe Safdie Interpreting Defensible Spaces Dignity Village – 2001-present 23 27 28 32
Architectural Solutions .............................................................................................. 37 Site Plan and Program Reusing the Site Collection Process – Keys to Success Community Involvement Design + Build 37 42 46 49 52
Foundation Framing Framing Roofing Skins Level of Completion
53 57 57 61 65 66
Conclusions ................................................................................................................ 72 Community Involvement The Process Influencing the future 72 73 73
Appendix ............................................................................................................... 76 Rethink Village Applications Rethink Village Bylaws Distance Studio Work Proposal Intensive One Review – Comments and Responses Intensive Two Review – Comments and Responses Intensive Three Review – Comments and Responses Various Texts Emails Blog Posts Resume Bibliography 76 80 90 90 93 94 101 108 108 113 116 117
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I would like to first thank my wife, Kellie Ballard. Thank you for doing your research, finding the BAC, and encouraging me to apply to this program. You have been a steady support throughout my time at the BAC and were always willing to help me when I had computer issues or needed to drain out the spilt coffee from the laptop days before the end of a semester… and spending your nights and weekends working on the living unit with me. I love you. To my mother and siblings, thank you. The love and support from you after dad passed was tremendous, he wanted so badly to see me finish up with school and succeed. I’m proud that I can say, “I did it.” To my many in-laws that helped: thank you for your yard, help, support, and gallons of refreshing iced-tea. Your help made the build and cleanup process much easier and faster. To my boss who provided me with ample time away from the office (and at) to work on my projects and thesis. Thank you. I can start working 50+ hour weeks again… right after a long vacation. To my classmates at the BAC, I would like to offer an ‘absolute’ thank you. The diverse backgrounds, design approaches and personalities offered a refreshing and unique aspect to my Master’s work at the BAC. To all of my instructors at the BAC, thank you! I felt that I was able to learn how to learn again. The constant testing and re-testing of ideas and processes made me more aware of how I approach architecture and how I interact with the built environment. A special thank you to Ian Taberner for allowing me to take a step towards the unknown and guiding me in a process that lead to great findings about myself and my potential impact on the architectural community. And finally to the BAC, thank you for developing the Distance Practicing Professionals Distance Master’s of Architecture program. This program has provided myself, and many more to come, the opportunity to realize our dreams… to become a better architect.
Synopsis I propose that there is a better way to design. I am not talking about which may be a better tool to use. I am not supporting computer versus drafting table, Post Modern versus Art & Crafts. I am asking, “Is there a better way to design efficiently, appropriately, economically, passionately and responsibly?” I know that there are untapped tools available today that architects have either forgotten about or have neglected to use. A resurgence of these tools that an architect should use on a daily basis along with a commitment to slowing down and knowing the user, personal restrictions, and lifestyles will lead to better and more meaningful architecture. What better a group than that of the homeless to test these questions? Homeless communities are present in nearly every city across the nation and can affect every walk of life. Is there a desirability of the undesirable? Is there a need/desire among the homeless to be re-introduced back into society? In Portland, Oregon, there is a community of non-homeless homeless people where they are welcomed into a group and begin to become part of a community where feelings are mended and behavioral aspects are addressed. This particular community is self sustained and has developed a way to be re-introduced back into mainstream society. Is there a need, desire (from both sides of the line), and/or responsibility for this kind of community in my community, Las Vegas? Can this type of community be sustained in Las Vegas where there are different resources (farming, arts and crafts, etc.) than that in the Portland community? Will the Las Vegas homeless community accept this type of ‘homegrown’ society that can enable a mainstream life style? Some areas of exploration include: Housing types Location Leadership Thesis Abstract
Community Involvement Ownership Community goals
The highest concentration of the Las Vegas homeless community is in the downtown district. The Mayor and city council have made a clear and focused effort to not only revitalize downtown to attract tourists and new businesses, but to eliminate a large number of its citizens. Within a four-mile radius of the core of downtown are 5 shelters. These shelters set out to provide basic needs: shelter for the night, a hot dinner, and assistance to contact other social services. This type of “assisting” the homeless in Las Vegas follows the same format as most of the nation and our homeless community is “housed” in the same manner: a big box with multiple persons a large room with little or no personal space. Simply to offer an overcrowded, underfunded, single night stay facility is not an ultimate, permanent solution to providing housing for the homeless
community. A successful homeless community within the Portland, Oregon area has provided an ownership-based model that is self-owned, self-built, self-sustaining, and self-governed, and relies upon its citizens for the means and methods of continued growth. This ownership-based model does not look at the number of people served in a day, week, month, but the number of people that have been re-integrated back into the mainstream community. Thesis Statement In the city of Las Vegas, there are an estimated 14,500 people within the homeless population. Nevada is the second-fastest growing state in the nation. The promise of steady work to sustain the casino industry and the booming construction industry has enticed thousands of new residents each month for the past several decades. Although Las Vegas is proud of its generally low unemployment rates, lack of state income tax, and inexpensive bountiful food buffets, there is an alarming amount of homelessness. The 14,500 homeless in Las Vegas equate to nearly all of the 0.68% of Nevadans who are homeless; ranking the highest in the US and more than double the national average (Curtis 2007). Statistics support that, although the Las Vegas homeless population percentage is more than double the national average, the homeless of Las Vegas have suffered from the very same economical hard times, slowing of the housing market, and diminishing availability of low-rent housing. A recent survey indicated that 16 percent of the homeless population are employed, 25 percent are veterans, 31 percent are disabled, 33 percent have made Las Vegas their home for over a decade, and at least 73 percent have, at a minimum, a high school education (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 2006). I will evaluate how and why a self-built, self-owned homeless community can better serve the downtown Las Vegas homeless community and lessen the financial impact to the city as well as influence the stigma surrounding the homeless community.
Terms of Criticism Can a site in or near the downtown Las Vegas area be identified and realistically sustain a community of homeless persons that Las Vegas could support? Does the site have other attributes other than ample room and favorable zoning adjacencies, such as historical value, access to infrastructure, and proximity to social services? Is it feasible for homeless persons to construct their own homes (living units) with limited knowledge/assistance from the community (contractors, community groups, etc) that will be acceptable to the building department?
Can homeless individuals obtain access to re-useable construction waste materials and/or donated items and then store them in a safe and secure location until use? What about this self-built, self-regulated community will draw the Las Vegas community in to be more involved and participate on a regular basis? Did I provide acceptable solutions that address the goals set forth by the City of Las Vegas? Methods of Inquiry I will define what is favorable to a site that would be selected to sustain a self-built, self-regulated community of homeless persons and what are acceptable adjacencies for both the community at large as well as the homeless community. I will propose a means, method, and structure for providing an alternative solution to constructing permanent housing for homeless persons willing to participate and grow as individuals while seeking to improve themselves and learn a skill that could become a source of income. I will demonstrate that the proposed means, method, and structure is feasible and achievable by collecting materials, designing (with available materials in mind), and constructing a dwelling that would be found in a community like Rethink Village. I will propose realistic activities and functions that could occur at Rethink Village that will promote active and regular participation between Rethink Village and the Las Vegas community.
There are small voices of kids and the yelps of puppies playing near the water pump as I pass by Mrs. Lapton’s place on my way to the resource center. I can see her through her window reading a book. She looks much better this week. The bed Roger brought up to her from the recently closed hotel on Bridger and Fourth has really made a difference. She seems to be enjoying her golden years more comfortably. Tim rushes past me to the shower room along the South end of the community. I guess he is extra eager to get cleaned up for the interview that he and Mike set up at the resource building the other day. The kids are now helping Rosa in the garden area, gathering mulch from the composting pit to lay down in a tomato and cucumber garden. As I come up to the resource center I can see that James is sitting at the computer checking his email to see how well the interview at the casino’s engineering department went. Just as I walk through the door, I see the largest smile consume his weathered and tanned face. “I got the job! I got the job!” he yells out. All the people within an ear shot come to hear the good news. As the gang surrounds James and offers their congratulations, there is a brief moment when I look into the future and imagine life here without him. James has always been so encouraging to me and the other new residents. It will be odd, in a way, without him around for encouragement and support. It will only be few more months before I know that he will be able to afford an apartment and will move out. As I sit to start checking my email, James turns to me and offers to put a good word in for me at the casino. As I thank him for thinking of me, I start to imagine how that if we can both have jobs at the same place we could remain best friends, but I know that I have my own interview at the plant nursery on Charleston on Friday and I really think this will work out. Besides, Ryan mentioned that one of my old guys works there too and that he would put in a good word for his old boss. I finish checking my email and check with Alan to see if the snail-mail came, Alan says that Bob has not come yet so I head back to my place to lay out my clothes for Friday. I stop by Mrs. Lapton’s place again, this time to sit and visit with her for a while, like I always do on Wednesdays. She offers me some crackers and some bottled water that James had brought by earlier.
The current population of the Las Vegas homeless would rather spend the night curb-side in front of the Salvation Army than risk all of their worldly possessions by trying to secure a bed inside a shelter. Some Las Vegas parks have been indefinitely closed to prevent homeless persons from gathering, using the restroom facilities, and interacting and having meals provided by faith based, non-profit, and community groups. While parks and gathering places are being stripped away in the name of public safety, the City of Las Vegas - Neighborhood Services Department 10-Year Planning Committee has detailed a plan to reduce homelessness entitled, “Homes for Homeless Nevadans.” (Las Vegas, Nevada 2006). A successful Rethink Village will directly address 6 of the 11 goals of the Home for Homeless Nevadans plan and will have an indirect effect on the success of the other goals by allowing the Salvation Army and similar organizations to focus on aspects of mental health treatments, bettering their client services and enhancing the coordination between these organizations. Current Accommodations The downtown area of Las Vegas has the largest concentration of homeless persons. Although the city, as-well as faith based and community groups, have concentrated their efforts in the area to provide programs, shelters, and medical clinics. Despite these efforts, there are many homeless persons that either refuse to use traditional shelters, are too proud to ask for outside help, or just don’t want to abandon their possessions for the night. Just a few blocks away from the heart of downtown (the Fremont Street Experience), there are a gathering of these shelters.
2 Homeless men, among an estimated 14,500 in Southern Nevada, look for day labor jobs Wednesday on Bonanza Road near the Interstate 15 overpass. Photo by K.M. Cannon 1 An unidentified man panhandles on Fremont Street. Photo by Joel John Roberts
3 Homeless people at a camp on the bank of the Flamingo Wash near Cambridge Street. Photo by John Gurzinski
Homes for Homeless Nevadans
1. Promote Interagency Coordination of Human Service Delivery Programs 2. Increase the Availability of Stable and Sustainable Housing 3. Enhance Coordination between Non-Profit Organizations and Government 4. Prevent Individual and Families from Becoming Homeless 5. Provide Seamless Client Services through Effective Partnerships 6. Foster Self-Sufficiency through access to Education, Training and Employment Opportunities 7. Facilitate the Transition from Homelessness through Intensive Case Management 8. Increase Access to Medical, Dental and Vision Services 9. Ensure the Availability of Basic Needs 10. Improve Availability of Mental Health Services 11. Improve Availability of Substance Abuse Treatment Programs
A successful Rethink Village will directly address 6 of the 11 goals of the Home for Homeless Nevadans plan (indicated in boldface).
Shade Tree, Salvation Army, St. Vincent, and the Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada are all located in the downtown vicinity of N. Main Street and W. Owens Avenue. These four shelters offer less than 500 beds, less than 150 for single night stays and only 320 for extended stays. The Salvation Army also offers a secondary program that incorporates a 42-bed group home. St. Vincent and the Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada joined to provide a program offering 125 fully furnished apartments requiring background checks and $335.25 a month for longer stays. Yet hundreds of homeless persons sleep on the sidewalks in front of these facilities and thousands more find shelter in storm water culverts, railroad embankments, undeveloped desert, and boarded-up buildings. Direction The abundant need for secure, dependable, independent, and permanent housing is clear. I propose a solution that creates a stronger sense of belonging, ownership, self-growth, community involvement, and sustainability while working with the homeless population to rethink solutions and resolve some of the problems they face on a day-to-day basis. Rethink Village can address the issues the city has outlined in their 10-year plan in ways that have not been attempted. Residents Rethink Village is anticipated to offer an alternative to those seeking a permanent, stable, and intimate surrounding where homeless persons can develop labor and social skills preparing them to be re-introduced back into the mainstream Las Vegas community. While I understand not all homeless persons will want to participate in this type of community, it has potential to offer a renewed sense of community and self-pride and to tear down the walls of stereotypes the main stream Las Vegas community may harbor towards the homeless. I spent several hours speaking to a man named Dennis. He had moved to Las Vegas from North Dakota where he was a construction site superintendent, and found employment in Las Vegas doing the same. I
3 An unidentified man sleeps Monday in front of the Frank Wright Plaza sign in downtown Las Vegas. Photo by Craig L. Moran
4 View looking into Dennis’ house
asked, timidly, what had changed, what happened that caused him and his wife to become homeless. Without any hesitation he told me his story. Dennis had his past catch up with him. Debt, bad decisions, and other normal situations that many experience and conquer had turned abruptly upside down, leaving him and his wife on the streets and homeless. Dennis and I sat for a couple of hours on a concrete barrier near his make-shift house. We talked about many subjects: the abundance of construction in Las Vegas, his desire to find work again, how hard it was to convince someone to give him a shot at swinging a hammer again despite not having a home address, how sometimes he feels that if there was a support group of individuals like himself together they could improve their housing and employment status. The more we spoke, the more comfortable we both became. I have had experiences before in soup kitchens, in a park, on the streets and highway exits with the homeless but never before had I put myself in such a vulnerable situation in which I engaged him. I think that this was Dennis’ first experience with someone, in this manner, trying to get to know him with no obligations or pre-determined outcomes. There was mutual respect, he never at any one time asked anything from me, other than my name and number if he ever wanted to call. We talked about this project and where it could go, how it could impact the lives of the homeless as well as those who would be willing to step out and help with the construction of individual homes and the success of Rethink Village. I was never able to follow up with him about my progress, direction, and goals. Dennis and his wife and their self-made home1 had been cleared out one night and the space where his four walls once stood now is an empty lot, abandoned and blank.
5 View looking North West towards Dennis' house
6 View looking West at Dennis' house
The images to the right are photos of what Dennis had constructed. The principles of a self-built community appear at a rough and crude stage but intentions are along the same line. Rethink village would encourage a more presentable image (a proper storage yard would resolve much of the clutter).
Project Site Location Latitude - 36° 11′ 39″ N Longitude - 115° 13′ 19″ W
History For many years this site and the adjacent site were home to over 100 residents until 2005 when the properties were bought out and re-zoned from R-3 (Medium density residential) to C-2 (Commercial). In February of 2008, the soft C-2 zoning expired had has been restored to R-3 zoning (Clark County Assessor 2004). Although the site at the Northwest corner of Main Street and Washington was abruptly abandoned and is currently vacant, the surrounding areas are rich with history and are still a significant part of Las Vegas. The railway that establishes the West property line also helped establish Las Vegas back in 1905. When William A. Clark, a one-term U.S. Senator from Montana; bought 2,000 acres of ranch land in 1900 there were only about 30 residents in the Las Vegas area. William built and owned the railway that connected Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, cutting the travel time in half, until 1921 when he sold the railway to Union Pacific. Union Pacific still operates this railway. As one of the original settlers of the Las Vegas area, Helen J. Stewart, who had sold land to William A. Clark; deeded 10 acres in downtown Las Vegas to the Paiute Indian Tribe in 1911, establishing the Las Vegas Paiute Colony. The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 has made the adjacent property to the North a Sovereign Nation. These 10 acres are the original tribal lands in the Las Vegas area that now comprise over 3,800 acres.
7 Image courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Vegas,_Nevada
Beyond the 10 acres of the downtown Paiute Tribal land are centers and shelters that serve battered women. A handful of homeless people are fortunate enough to find exhaustible accommodations at shelters like the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army has been part of the Las Vegas community since 1945 and currently provides emergency shelter for approximately 156 persons while maintaining a 42-bed group home. Also within walking distance, the Shade Tree, St. Vincent’s HELP Apartments, and an employment office can be found. Other significant areas sit to the West and East of the site. Berkley Square (Westside Park), a post-WWII, 156 unit, sub-division designed by a “famed” African American architect Paul R. Williams, known for designing homes of movie stars including Frank Sinatra’s and the LA Courthouse, remains. A minor league baseball team has called Cashman Center home for over 25 years where when once part of the Las Vegas Ranch (1881) fruits and vegetables were bountiful and the “Old Mormon Fort” is a walk through history. It stands where the first Mormon settlers took refuge back in 1855. The fort eventually became a resort and was later used as a testing laboratory for the Bureau of Reclamation while the Hoover Dam was being constructed. It was registered as a National Historic Place in February of 1972 (Mooney 2006). The opportunity to work on a site that is surrounded by such rich history affirms the magnitude of potential effects for a self-built community for the homeless population. The close proximity to existing shelter facilities provides relevance to the use, and it benefits from being centrally located in the Las Vegas valley and in the heart of small unorganized homeless camp sites. These sporadic sites continually run a risk of disbandment from the city and local businesses trying to keep these makeshift fabric tents off their sidewalks and maintain curb appeal for their customers. The site selected offers many amenities that raw land simply cannot: access to water, sewer, and electricity is existing infrastructure capable of supporting a homeless village. This site enjoys nearly unbounded edges with historical context.
@ 20,625 feet
@ 4125 feet
@ 825 feet 8 Images courtesy of Google Earth
The site is 3.82 acres in area, and has a current land-use designation of R-3. The site is situated such that much of the existing infrastructure can be used with little repair or alterations, keeping in spirit of vernacular architecture, providing an opportunity for architecture for the poor, and providing a comfortable living space for the residents of Rethink Village. The existing vehicular access offers access to the site for community and support services without intruding too deeply into the village. This offers the residents comfort and privacy while providing an opportunity for onsite clinic, retail/exchange market, and donations center easily 11 Cable vault 10 Electrical vault located near the corner. This activity shall serve as a buffer to the inner and more private activities. A proposed garden area at the South end of the site is conveniently close to the corner with hopes of a farmers market in the future. Across from the garden are would be the village heart, where social events can take place. Resources could include a bathing house, mail room, library, and centralized kitchen. The storage yard will reside to the North of the village heart, where donated and gathered supplies can be safely and securely stored until used. The remaining land will be used for the dwellings. There there are concrete 9 Natural vegetation and existing concrete pad pads that can be “re-used” as foundations for the new homes aligned to develop intimate streets that lead to the front doors to the homes. If and when ‘expansion’ is needed, the adjacent site (7 plus acres) offers the same infrastructure.
13 View of site looking Northwest from Main & Washington
14 View of site looking East
12 Panoramic view of the site
15 Site study ‐ Context
16 Site Study ‐ Views
17 Site study ‐ Environment
18 Site study ‐ Boundaries
19 Site study ‐ Circulation
Case Studies & Research
When approaching all projects, it is wise to explore areas that have been traveled before; however, it can better serve an individual to look outside the normal. Answers that can educate one’s perspective that otherwise may not be influenced by traditional areas of research and case studies are found in this realm. When thinking about how to research and what to explore, I wanted to pre-define what I was trying to achieve. I was looking to respond to providing shelter for the homeless but also to instill a sense of pride, ownership, and self-worth. I wanted to connect the result with a way of thinking just as much as provide an alternative to a traditional shelter. Looking at many topics and projects from as long ago as the early 1900’s with the Earthquake cottages of San Francisco, to as recent as the work done by Samuel Mockbee in the Rual Studio at Auburn University and Dr. Wez Janz, whose studied how squatter cites and informal builders claimed left over spaces; I could aspire to a solution that is appropriate and responsible to the subject matter. The subject matter researched and analyzed may not have always provided a clear and direct path to the architectural solution, but it paved the way as to how to address what ultimately mattered most. As designers and architects we strive to provide certain qualities to the user: a sense of place by defining the space, a comfort level to inspire personal fortitude and an architectural language that has meaningful purpose to the user. The resounding commonalities from the case studies and research proved to be ownership; community; self-growth; simplicity; owner constructed, learned, and applied skills; and vernacular architecture.
19 San Francisco earthquake cottages of 1906. (National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior, Golden Gate National Recreation Area 2003)
20 Music Man House Photo by Timothy Hursley, courtesy of Rural Studio
21 A squatter's house in Berlin, photo by Fabian Thode (2001).
Rich Architecture for the Poor - Model House in Ezbet Al-Barsey -Hassan Fathy How can Las Vegas, a city of constant change and endless possibilities, provide an architectural language that will be as dynamic as the Las Vegas nightlife with regard to dwellings for the homeless? The concept of a self-built, self-owned community is not new. In the 1940's, Hassan Fathy studied the culture, lifestyles, and the local economy of the residents of Gourna while commissioned to design a new city for a peasant class population. In his studies, Hassan Fathy explored many concepts that speak directly to the potential success of a self-built, self-owned homeless community. Fathy knew that it was crucial that a good understanding of the climate, material selection, protection from the sun, site orientation, human scale, life-style, and hands-on participation would result a better community and a better, more satisfying life, while teaching a skill that would benefit the resident's social and economical status. In the book, Architecture for the Poor, Fathy sets out to establish a tone that supports the process in which decisions are made and will ultimately define the solutions used in designing New Gourna. Fathy believed that more than architecture alone would be needed to achieve the greatest impact in the lives of the people of Gourna. I believe that in order to design, be it a retail store, school, house, or public building, there must be a clear understanding of what and how things are designed for particular groups of people. In this case, designing a community/village for a certain population of the homeless community within Las Vegas, it is crucial to allow their lifestyle to inform the building materials and architectural character. It is commonly accepted that great architecture has evolved into architecture for architects; however, principles used by Hassan Fathy encourages architects to bridge the gap between folk architecture and the architect's architecture. In terms of vernacular architecture Fathy provides examples that can be translated into driving principles that I will use to develop the site and the sitting of the dwellings as well as help inform the architectural character of the dwellings. Paul Oliver, in his Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World, speaks of vernacular architecture: "As yet there is no clearly defined and specialized discipline for the study of dwellings or the larger compass of vernacular architecture. If such a discipline were to emerge it would probably be one that combines some of the elements of both architecture and anthropology with aspects of history and geography.”
The symmetry and balance is carefully and quietly delineated between the bedrooms and the living areas creating a pleasant barrier between private and public, while the circulation really takes shape at the common area between the public and private areas. The structure or supporting elements are mainly keep to the exterior walls providing a sense of security with large thick walls when within but still allowing natural day lighting within entire space by bringing in light from above and flooding each room to maintain that sense of security. The unit of the whole adds extra context to the residence. The scale of the site shows the overall importance to the region, indicating water source and transportation paths and a closer sense of ownership when viewed within the boundaries of the community. The formal shape of a square provides a uniform layout and lends to a simplistic method of construction, keeping both labor and material costs at a reasonable rate. This shape is the most practical type of housing for people of limited monetary and material resources. The principles of Hassan Fathy's Architecture for the Poor can provide a foundation for "Rethinking Homeless Living" while not necessarily following the material selection. Adapting the principles learned from Fathy to the materials that are local and readily accessible will reinforce the vernacular feel for how Fathy has approached providing architecture for the poor.
"I always say that we benefit more from failure than from successes. Failure makes us consider every aspect of a situation, but success has certain hidden dangers which when repeated on a larger scale become a disaster. Only by knowing the mistakes in an idea can you find a solution to it and save it from the beginning.” ~ Hassan Fathy
Fathy's design principles that were incorporated in the design of New Gourna include: the Malqaf Conventional HVAC will not be an option for this community and using natural energy techniques to cool the dwelling works well with the economical constraints while also providing solutions to cooling with green strategies in practice. the Mashrabiya The concept of the Mashrabiya works well in the absence of windows; windows are not extremely available as construction waste (local materials). A lattice type covering will offer privacy while allowing air into the space for cooling purposes and blocking the majority of the direct sun light. the Loggia The concept of the Loggia is most likely the best way to make outdoor spaces more comfortable in hot arid climates, the techniques used can be applied to the walls of the dwellings but also the sitting of buildings thus greatly creating the same affect for common outdoor gathering areas rendering these spaces more susceptible to greater, more productive uses. Orienting the dwelling based on wind patterns and sun angles
23 Diagram of a Loggia (Fathy, Natural energy and vernacular architecture : principles and examples with reference to hot arid climates 1986) 24 Example of orienting the dwelling based on wind patterns and sun angles (Fathy, Natural energy and vernacular architecture : principles and examples with reference to hot arid climates 1986) 22 Example of a Malqaf (Fathy, Natural energy and vernacular architecture : principles and examples with reference to hot arid climates 1986)
The wind patterns noted on the site study along with the angle of altitude of ~58 degrees will allow me to develop and test plans, sections, and site orientation that will provide the optimal orientation for each dwelling. This will also intact help provide a more acceptable climate without the aid of mechanical assistance. The angle of the roof to control heat gain Materials and surfaces in conjunction with the angle of the roof will complement the climate advantages I will be able to gain with the sitting of the dwellings, as well help shape the malqaf for optimal wind capture.
The use of local and available materials The local construction industry is always on the go, construction sites pop of all over town from on the strip to old residential neighborhoods to brand new ones and everywhere else in-between. In the last quarter of 2007 construction waste amounted to over 1200 tons, nearly 400 tons of construction a month that was collected and sorted for recycling. Designing for the users Designing for the end user is also another concept that is as old as the ages that sometimes is overlooked. The shelters today that are the providing shelter for the homeless have turned into more than can be handled. The programs and square footages of the facilities are large and wide spreading yet only helping a small numbers, this can be reversed if the focus shifts to providing targeted areas of support. Instead of providing a shopping list of amenities, shelter should focus on individual items; in the area there are several places, yet to small to really help. By providing a village for the homeless community to live in will free up the shelters to focus on supply medical care, job placement, skill workshops and no how many they have room for tonight, why people cannot bring in with them their possessions, etc. Teaching/providing the residents the skill needed to build and also provide a useful trade Teaching and providing shills to take out into Las Vegas can help several groups of people… first and foremost the homeless, by potentially learning new skills they could quickly become part of the construction force that is part of our valleys economy. Employers can have a community outreach program where time can be donated to assist in the success of the Rethink Village. Lastly the shelters will start to see some relief on their already overburdened resources.
25 Images of a villager in New Gourna It is important to note that while these two cultures are very different, thousands of miles apart, building materials may differ, technology surges, and decades apart there is a common link: applying learned skills (Fathy, Architecture for the Poor : An Experiment in Raul Eqypy designing for the poor. Designing dwellings for the homeless should incorporate letting them build 1976) their own shelters. With the right skills and materials I suggest that a better solution will appear, better than any social program can provide. Incorporating these architectural principles, a superior living arrangement can be afforded to those with little to no stable income.
Habitat ’67 – 1967 – Moshe Safdie The World’s Expo of 1967 featured the design and housing project known as Habitat. At the time Moshe Safdie had the opportunity to take his thesis design to reality, he left his position as an apprentice with Louis Kahn to complete his vision of affordable housing constructed from modular methods. Safdie placed much importance on the concept of hierarchy; the study recognizes the difference between a place and the same place in context to its surroundings. Safdie understands that even more than just the placement of the project on the site, there is much more to be considered: relationships of nearby uses, the environment, people who will live in the units, and the social implications to the greater community. A result of the evolution of the site over the last 30 years is that the change of ownership. Originally designed as a solution to providing affordable housing, Habitat is now an upper middle class community (Canadian Architecture Collection 2001). These prefabricated containers are approximately 600 s.f. and arranged in such way that every unit has direct access to the front door. Each unit also has access to common circulation paths to common amenities and garden areas much to the standards of Oscar Newman in his book Defensible Spaces. Each resident has ownership of part of their community creating a stronger sense of community. So much so, that today there is a high demand for a unit at Habitat.
Interpreting Defensible Spaces The concept of Defensible Spaces has been around since the beginning of time, yet as technologies advance, the simple understanding of how and why human beings interact and socially unit with each other and the built environment have been set aside to play second fiddle to the new brand of architecture: architecture for architects. These basic good design strategies that Oscar Newman wrote about over three decades ago are just as pertinent today as they were thirty years ago, as they were one hundred, five hundred, a thousand years ago. Unfortunately, it took the request of a government body and a staggering increase of residential robberies to release these basic and simple strategies back to the architectural community. The efforts to decrease crime in the inner city and suburbs alike was a blanket approach of providing more policing, altering the scheduled routes, and improving the response time. The results left a bitter taste in the mouth of law enforcement around the United States. Irregularly beats and faster response times did little to stifle crime patterns and even less in changing the eventual outcome of crimes. Although the principles described and diagramed are mainly focused on strategies to help reduce crime in and around multifamily projects, there are practical design, social, and statistical approaches that cross the development gap that may exist. When designing retail, office, residential for the masses or a homeless village, the human factor exists. Its existence has primal tendencies. These tendencies, if not properly developed, will be developed at such vigor and pace as to disrupt normal activities. As finely balanced as the economy and social affairs can be, it is pertinent to empower all resources available to the architect to combat or at least influence the behaviors of people when engaged with the built environment. This type of suggestive influence can have long lasting effects while reinforcing acceptable behavior. Through a series of reports and handbooks, well conceived concepts have been once again brought to the forefront of Design 101. Intentionally designing a site plan for a community of homeless people affords itself to resolving common issues such as location of the houses, public spaces, private spaces, and activity spaces around existing criteria or location of potential power, water, and sewer connections. Yet, at the end of the day, I will still be pleased to see the community to take a life of its own. These constraints will inform the location of the program elements as well as site selection and siting. Traditional strategies and improvised solutions will yield a productive result in terms of site planning, building materials and methods. Although many techniques and strategies are presented, I have narrowed my focus to site planning and spatial relationships between public and private outdoor spaces. This focus will illustrate how to provide comfortable living spaces that the residents of Rethink Village will be able to enjoy and feel safe, in contrast to the current environment that affords no personal space, ownership or pride. The concepts from Oscar Newman's studies have allowed me to identified five rules that will demonstrate defensible spaces in the site layout and spatial relations in both density and activity spaces in conjunction with the principles and strategies established by Hassan Fathy for the 'poor' in hot arid climates as well as defining the architectural character in terms of vernacular architecture (Newman 1975).
"...buildings [dwellings] should be positioned and grounds be subdivided and allocated so that residents perceived particular areas of the project as being under their specific sphere of influence.” ~ Oscar Newman Five rules for designing defensible spaces: These five rules center on how people behave in their surroundings and how simple change in material, level and surfaces can produce acceptable behavior for their environment. These rules have goals and results, each one building upon the previous rule, designing in only a few of these principles progressively hampers the success rate. To obtain the most from defensible spaces and design a comfortable productive space I believe that all the rules should be implemented. Goals and Results Rule #1 - Site dwellings as to create small subdivided/allocated areas of land so that the residents perceive particular areas under their control Rule #2 - These areas should be on the direct path to the front door and include an area for small children play (buffer area between public and private areas) Goal for #1 &2 - To influence the residents to exert their territorial prerogatives Result for #1 & 2 - These areas should expect to experience more and intensive use and care/pride Rule #3 - Numbers... Quantity vs. Grouping - common areas for central/communal activities should be spread throughout the site Goal for #3 - Simply... spread the wealth Result for #3 - These areas will sustain better/productive activities as well require less maintenance
Rule #4 - Define areas of influence - appropriate use and location of physical and symbolic barriers Goals for #4 - Physical boundaries - To indicate a legitimate right to enter Symbolic boundaries - To interrelate/define areas to particular spaces Results for #4 - Politely and unquestionably defined comfortable and territorial boundaries the enjoyment, security and beauty of the space Rule #5 - Proper locations of transition areas to define public areas from private areas Goal for #5 - To stimulate a type of inculpable behavior appropriate to the level of activity or area Result for #5 - Outsiders and residents alike will act and react to symbolic transitions in ways productive to the area...acceptable behavior
Observation of territorial prerogatives among the homeless community Territorial behaviors already exist among people groups, including the homeless community. However, this type of behavior is deemed not appropriate for the certain areas. This non-positive behavior that the homeless have become accustomed to has created reverse boundaries. Boundaries that spill out into sidewalks and door stoops will render these transition zones unusable or used outside the intended design. The long term fallout for areas of this type of behavior (although these behaviors do not stem from malicious intents) is disrupting the social and economical interests of others. I gather that much of the stigma and housing solutions stem from these behaviors. I suggest that in order to reverse these ill effects that a community devoted to the re-integration of the homeless populous is supported by the local community in part to develop a village designed to re-teach independent living in a secure, comfortable, and enjoyable space. If the current trend continues, downtown businesses will continue to see less and less customers. Closing up shop is and will continue to be the answer. This process leads to continued growth of the homeless community in these areas where negative territorial behaviors have taken root. The intent of creating defensible space is to foster community and influence acceptable behavior. The type of territorial behavior being displayed in certain parts of downtown Las Vegas is just the opposite of proper acceptable behavior. It was observed that public/private spaces that have been abandoned for whatever reasons have been perceived by the homeless community as "theirs." This must be a result of watching others discard these spaces that are viewed as a resource and be recycled back to a useful function in their life. By providing an area and opportunity for the willing homeless, outside the constraints of traditional shelters, a place to develop these same territorial prerogatives described by Oscar Newman and following the rules outlined above the results can be two-fold: First, a certain number of the homeless community would be willing to take advantage of opportunities in order to start the process and re-integrate into mainstream society, or at the very least be able to live in a community of their peers without the fear of being abused, to be able to properly secure their few belongings with confidence and have a home they built. Second, this type of village will provide a place for the homeless to live and allow the sidewalks and door stoops be again reclaimed and used for the designed purpose. This will allow for renewed economical growth back to the downtown areas that have been lost. Rethink Village offers Las Vegas a unique opportunity to address the homeless community in a positive way that incorporates techniques that have not been utilized in shelters/group home settings.
Dignity Village – 2001-present Dignity Village, unlike many villages, encampments, or small towns, is a successful village of homeless persons that banded together in the winter of 2000 and created a squatters camp called Dignity Camp. There are benefits and amenities often found at traditional homeless shelters such as: access to toilets, showers, cooking and washing facilities, meeting rooms, telephone, email/email, library materials, internet access, food, clothing and other household items, job training and income opportunities, continuing education (local partnership with educational institutions), future housing placement, and other public benefits. While Dignity Village enjoys a diverse population, it is partially limited to its population size by the constraints of the size of the site and the distance from downtown Portland. The site analysis to the right indicates 38 dwellings with more planned as supplies become available. Building materials and methods vary, much like the residents themselves. Typical traditional framing account for most of the buildings on site but alternative sustainable green construction is often practiced. Other temporary methods (tents, lightwood and tarps) are used until building supplies and manpower are available. Even though 28 Volunteers work to build straw insulated housing at a construction committee completes the majority of the construction, Dignity Village. (Hochstein 2004) residents of Dignity Village are responsible for building their own dwellings in conjunction with off-site support (school and church groups, construction companies, architects, and other not-for-profit organizations) that offer help and assistance. Public interaction during the construction season creates interaction that is not always available for most homeless people and helps develop much-appreciated social skills, trade skills, and deeper personal relationships among fellow residents and the public at large. The active role in building one’s community instills a sense of ownership, pride, accomplishment, and self-worth, not widely abundant within the homeless community. The resurrection of these characteristics provides encouragement, and residents are more likely to be reintegrated back into mainstream society. The average stay of a Dignity Village resident is about 18 months and there are dozens of residents that have transitioned from homelessness to Dignity Village to traditional housing.
26 Straw‐bale house under construction. (Hochstein 2004)
27 Community Center. Photo by Mark Lakeman
29 Site Analysis of Dignity Village
Vernacular Architecture: Impact and Importance What is Vernacular Architecture? Paul Oliver’s Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World is regarded as the foremost reference work on the subject edited to date. In it, he defines vernacular architecture as, “comprising the dwellings and all other buildings of the people. Related to their environmental contexts and available resources they are customarily owner- or community-built, utilizing traditional technologies. All forms of vernacular architecture are built to meet specific needs, accommodating the values, economies and ways of life of the cultures that produce them.” (Oliver, Vernacular architecture of the world 1997). However, vernacular architecture should not be just simply viewed as traditional or non-technological. It has served as a guide for alternative solutions. More increasingly, architects and developers turn to vernacular architecture and it has become a vital part in the development and execution of green strategies. Age old concepts are becoming more entwined into architectural theory and practice. Informal builders are often constrained by their economical status, regional location, and available materials, yet are able to construct buildings that are appropriate to their region, community, and family structure. Using only materials readily available and no input from professional architects, builders adapt the materials to suit their needs. The study of vernacular architecture is a growing field with interest gaining from all walks of life and over all the continents. Although there is evidence of vernacular architecture, there is not one single type. Informal builders rely upon their culture, environment, history, and lifestyle to influence their buildings. These items are the root of inquest by professionals in the 21st century as they look for ways to become more energy efficient and focus on sustainability. By relying on themselves to provide shelter and infrastructure for survival, informal builders are often not given the credit that is due. For centuries, they have been doing the tasks of several professions at a skill level and accuracy that is often envied in developed countries. The material selection, process, and technical skills that are passed down from generation to generation are in many ways similar to the process in which many professions teach their skills. Many materials and techniques that are practiced today are rooted in vernacular architecture and are still looking at the vernacular for insight into the future. When developing a community like Rethink Village, it is appropriate to look at the vernacular for inspiration, guidance, and precedents. The resiliency and effectiveness of the vernacular to sustain life and community should be more widely accepted as a design strategy rather than just scavenged through for areas of interest and discarded as inferior design and technique.
31 Miscellaneous barn. (Rudofsky 1987)
30 Adobe brick and thatched roof. (Rudofsky 1987)
33 Timber Pallet Workshop": I‐Beam Design in collaboration with Department of Architecture at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, U.S. (2004).
The biggest challenge is yet to come… Now there is beauty on the outside; how do we come back and build the infrastructure within the human soul?
Alice Coles, president, Bayview Citizens for Social Justice
32 Catedral de Justo (Mejorada del Campo); Photo by Juan Lupión (2006)
34 Mongolian ger: with roof poles in place; Photo by en:User:Tkn20
35 A squatter's house in Berlin, photo by Fabian Thode (2001).
Through selection of site, a comfortable middle can be established that will allow for optimal public participation and will serve the residents of Rethink Village in a way unique to their surroundings, lifestyle, economic status, and willing participation. Public involvement can be facilitated in several ways: establishing a relationship with contractors, builders, architects and faithbased/community groups will provide viable materials, labor, and support needed to nurture Rethink Village to a popular, productive, and meaningful community. This type of support sets in motion the rest of the pieces, including organizing the materials, creating an inventory, setting up a working schedule (construction committee), completing a dwelling, and repeating this process until a substantial community is realized. The process I took to test the feasibility of these actions was simply to put them in motion. I had already established that there are homeless persons that look at this approach with appreciative eyes; so I took a few weeks to speak to contractors about this process and collect materials from construction sites that had been either set aside, tossed in the construction waste bin, or salvaged from the desert. After several successful outings I was able to store, inventory, and assess what had been collected and a design emerged from materials, research, environmental constraints, and personal preference.2 The steps documented in the design + build illustrate the process I used to construct my dwelling. They include foundation, framing, roofing, and the exterior coverings. These areas offer insight to the process, constructability, struggles, accomplishments, materials, and tools required to complete my dwelling. I am pleased with the process, lessons learned, and the final product, and I have new appreciation for what I am asking others to do. It is with these new appreciations I feel confident that what I am proposing is very feasible, acceptable, worthwhile, and will develop a strong sense of ownership, community, pride, self worth, accomplishment, and selfgrowth that can lead to being re-integrated into the mainstream community as a productive, active member. Site Plan and Program The selection of this site became quite clear when certain attributes were defined. In order for a site to be considered for use in conjunction for a self-built, self-governed, homeless community it must meet or exceed the following: be centrally located within an assembly of a homeless population be located where public assistance programs are in reasonable walking distance be located where public transportation systems are in reasonable walking distance
I based the design of the dwelling on my preferences as if it was a dwelling for me along with the principles learned from Fathy, Safdie, and Newman. 37
be in a location that is accessible to the public (mainstream community) have adjacencies that are not intrusive to either the public or the homeless community (best locations would be near or adjacent to industrial uses where infrastructure is existing and close. be zoned for either multi-family or currently have no zoning 3 be abandoned or be vacant of public/private use for a minimum of two years minimal infrastructure such as access to power, sewer, potable water minimal boundaries that can establish symbolic and physical boundaries can provide adequate individual and common/public areas sufficient for expected growth some vegetation to allow reprieve from the elements While the acquisition of a site may come in several ways, either by grant, loan, donation, or, in the future, sale from a public/private entity, it is important to plan accordingly to the impact that this community will have on both the city and homeless community. I propose that there be a three-phase plan adopted to accommodate both the expected community growth as well as respond to needs of the community as far as infrastructure and amenities continue to develop.
36 Programming diagram and allocation pie chart
Such as properties that abut highways, but provide both safe vehicular and pedestrian access. 38
Quanity Space Dwellings 36 Storage Type A Dwelling s.f. per person 140.00 22.22 11.11 66.67 4.17 4.17 10.00 6.25 s.f. per unit 140 800 180 180 50 50 400 800 150 150 10 15 75 10 225 400 total s.f. 5,040 5,040 800 800 4,220 360 360 200 200 400 2,400 150 150 100 10 15 75 1,035 360 675 400 400 Occupancy R‐3 Single occupant S‐1 C Components Twin bed, storage area (18 s.f.) sitting area for two open storage yard, tool shed, material shed Three composting toilets, two hand sinks each shower drain connections to public sewer three reading stations, checkout counter, material shelf 50 folding chairs, 2 dry‐erase boards desk, chair desk, chair Adjacencies private gardens Village Center access to library, adjacent to community bldg access to mail room/library computer/internet, telephone at front entry of dwellings edge of site/adjacent to community garden could be relocated at phase 3 Notes serving 36 homeless persons access from access road relocated at phase three relocated at phase three relocated at phase three relocated at phase three hand watered
1 Storage Yard Village Center 2 Rest rooms (Men) 2 Rest rooms (Women) 4 Shower room (Men) 4 Shower room (Women) 1 3 1 Library area Meeting/Mulit‐purpose rooms Donation distribution center
1 Technology Center Community Center 1 information desk 1 check‐in/security 1 Storage Garden 36 Private garden 3 Community garden Waste/Compost 1 Waste/Compost Site
Phase one planning will include housing for up to 36 single occupant dwellings that would respond to the demands of a start-up community. This start-up community will be supported by a storage yard for collection and storage of building materials, a village center where day-to-day tasks of seeing to a successful community would take place in addition to providing clean, secure accessible areas for bathing (separate facilities for men and women), a gathering room (village meetings and announcements), a small donation center, resource area, and training room. In order to help provide a source of food and village involvement, public and private gardens would be highly encouraged and an area would be set aside, safely away from dwellings, as well as a waste composite pit used primarily for fertilizer in the gardens.
Quanity Dwellings 12 9 Storage Type A Type B Space s.f. per person 140.00 100.00 26.67 7.00 7.50 s.f. per unit 140 200 800 180 180 50 50 100 150 200 100 150 10 225 total s.f. 3,480 1,680 1,800 800 800 560 180 180 100 100 1,100 200 450 200 100 150 435 210 225 Occupancy (single occupant) (double occupant) S‐1 C Components Twin bed, storage area (18 s.f.) sitting area for two Two Twin beds, storage area (18 s.f.) sitting area for three Three composting toliets, two hand sinks Three composting toliets, two hand sinks shower drain connection to public sewer shower drain connection to public sewer desk, chair desk, chair desk, chair desk, chair Adjacencies private gardens private gardens Notes serving an additional 30 homeless persons
1 Storage Yard Village Center 1 1 2 Rest rooms (Men) Rest rooms (Women) Shower room (Men)
2 Shower room (Women) Community Center 2 medical clinic (exam) 3 job training workshop 1 retail area 1 Storage 1 Donation drop off Garden 21 1 Private garden Community garden
Phase two planning will include an additional 21 dwellings that could accommodate another 30 persons, as well as more public and private gardens. This increase of population, which should be expected in a short amount of time as word gets out about the opportunities available at Rethink Village, will require a more stable village center. Along with a building for the community to become more involved, this community center would offer room for clinics, work force training, a retail area (trading post), and a permanent larger donation center. This phase will also include additional facilities for both men and women to bathe and wash up for potential job interviews.
Quanity Dwellings 12 12 Type A Type B Space s.f. per person 140.00 100.00 37.50 s.f. per unit 140 200 1,500 180 180 50 50 400 300 150 150 10 225 400 total s.f. 5,580 1,680 2,400 1,500 2,160 180 180 100 100 400 900 150 150 405 180 225 400 400 Occupancy R‐3 Single occupant Double occupant Multi‐occupant Components Twin bed, storage area (18 s.f.), sitting area for two Two Twin beds, storage area (18 s.f.), sitting area for three sleeping arrangements for 40 persons Three composting toilets, two hand sinks Three composting toilets, two hand sinks shower drain connection to public sewer shower drain connection to public sewer three additional reading stations, checkout counter, material shelf 50 additional folding chairs, 2 additional dry‐erase boards Adjacencies private gardens private gardens access to library, adjacent to community bldg access to mail room/library computer/internet, telephone adjacent to village center and dwelling units Notes serving an additional 76 homeless persons converted Village Center
1 Type C Village Center 1 1 2 2 1 3 1 1 Garden 18 Rest rooms (Men) Rest rooms (Women) Shower room (Men) Shower room (Women) Library area Meeting/Multipurpose rooms Donation distribution center Technology Center Private garden
1 Community garden Waste/Compost 1 Waste/Compost Site
The need for a third phase will not only superfluously account for the growing amount of interested persons but express need and desire for a community like Rethink Village. With this growth comes much more housing; 12 single occupant dwellings, 12 double occupant dwellings and the conversion of the former village center to a multipurpose building that could accommodate up to 40 additional persons during ‘high peak’ times around winter months and influxes of the homeless community during times of crisis. Also, the storage yard would be expanded to accommodate for larger volumes of materials as programs are developed with the local construction community that could serve as start-up for future sites. The need for a larger permanent building for the village center that will expand its role to include a larger resource center that will include a library and computer stations as well as additional bathing and washing facilities.
Reusing the Site As an exercise to help evaluate the chosen site that meet the required criteria, I felt it necessary to diagram the site in several ways that eventually lead to a site plan design supporting the principles of Fathy, Safdie, and Newman, while relating to vernacular architecture and how informal builders would reuse the existing site conditions to suit their needs. An inventory of the site yielded six distinct attributes to the site in its current condition (this site was previously home to a mobile home community): Paved surfaces Concrete pads (nearly all reusable) Circulation paths Anticipated circulation nodes (intersecting paths and paved surfaces) Existing natural vegetation (mature shade trees) Existing infrastructure (power, sewer, potable water) These studies laid the ground work for the eventual site plan that will become Rethink Village. A site rich with history that once provided stable housing with emphases on instilling ownership, pride, and community spirit can once again stand proudly on the corner of Main Street and Washington Avenue, and instilling ownership, pride, and community spirit in its residents.
The previous exercise components allowed development of a site plan that allowed for additional programming that had been missing before. The back bone/purpose of the site is to provide a place in which homeless person will be able to build their own living dwellings in a manner that will promote community, ownership, and self-pride. The muscle tissues of the site, if you will, become the support uses, the existing infrastructure, the storage yard, and the smaller gathering nodes that will occur naturally in-between dwellings and in routes from place to place. The heart of Rethink Village is undoubtedly the village center, where day-to-day operations of the village will occur. The village center is a common safe place to gather for informative village meetings, individual committee meetings, distribution of donations, and access to library materials, computers, and the village post office. This building should be treated as the lifeline to the village and thus, when it becomes time to develop the permanent building, special emphasis should be placed in the design and materials so that the spirit and hard work that is Rethink Village is expressed architecturally4. The lungs of the community, a connection point where a fresh breath breathes life into both Las Vegas and Rethink Village is the Community Center. It is similar to the function of the Village Center, but the Community Center is the connection point between the Las Vegas community and Rethink Village. This building represents a gateway to becoming re-integrated into mainstream society, located prominently at the corner of Main and Washington as the welcome center, training center, medical clinics, donation drop off, center, and trading post.
It would be difficult to apply appropriate architectural language to the village center until the residents have made their mark and can be part of the design. However, it should be noted that a relationship to the site, residents, and community should be the overwhelming factor when it comes time to develop the permanent village center.
37 Entry areas at Rethink Village from Washington
38 Looking East along Washington
39 Arial view of Rethink Village
Collection Process – Keys to Success As is the case for most projects, a series of items must be met to ensure a positive and favorable outcome. There are four intangibles that cannot be gained by mere financial contributions. There needs to be a willingness to connect to persons outside of our usual circle. A project/community like Rethink Village offers a perfect opportunity for community involvement. Working outside and with your hands promotes healthy interaction that will develop and be nourished into more meaningful relationships while teaching shills that can lead to employment. Support from city officials will be greatly increased when supported by the locals, leading to stronger commitments from the city to work with homeless in support of a community like Rethink Village. The access to materials will also increase once relationships with the local building industry and city officials are established. The possibilities include: offering LEED points to developers and owners for participating in Rethink Village by providing and transporting of materials, providing man hours in the construction (and oversight) of building living units, or swapping day labor for certain materials. The possibilities are endless and offer a win-win situation for all parties involved. Architects must know and completely understand what it will take to “build my house.” What are we willing and not willing to do for a stable community life and home? What part of this process needs to be aided by persons with experience? What type of community involvement can be expected? How will Rethink Village be able to collect, store, inventory, and allot materials for a desired amount of buildings to serve the community?
40 Volunteers work to build straw insulated housing at Dignity Village. (Hochstein 2004)
41 Contractors within Las Vegas. Courtesy of Google Earth
There are approximately 700 General Contractors in Las Vegas Approximately 160 are within a 7 mile radius There are more than 9 times more sub-contractors Scheduled times with contractors for either pick-up or delivery of materials
Ensure ample room for raw materials (collected) Provide segmented areas for preassembled parts Provide secure area for tools
Community Groups • • • • Approximately 900 churches in Las Vegas – over 300 churches within a 7 mile radius More than 200 local Boy Scout Councils serving thousands of members An active Habitat for Humanity chapter Various other Charitable, Social and Volunteer groups to help
42 Boy Scout meeting locations. Courtesy of Google Earth
43 Church locations. Courtesy of Google Earth
Design + Build Coming into the design + build process was a result of many things coming together. I was in need of a method that was real and could be tested in a manner that spoke to the ideas and emotions that I had held so dear to the success if this project and village. In order to test the feasibility of a self-built community, have solidarity in certain expectations, and learn how to assist/develop standards that will guide homeless persons in the building of their community and homes, I would have to ask myself the same questions. What am I willing to do to build my home? Can I do this myself with limited knowledge of construction techniques? What type of materials should I start to collect? How do I approach a contractor/construction site for left over materials or materials that have been scrapped? Although I have experience and knowledge of how to put together a set of construction documents (ranging from a spec house to a convention center) I have little hands-on experience of actually building any buildings. With the help of my wife (who has less experience than I reading plans but slightly more in actual construction and woodworking), I was going to build me a house! After several weeks of collecting materials and speaking to contractors about the project and process, I found that several were willing to assist with materials while others were not. Although the resounding response was positive, part of me wonders what the response would have been if I didn’t know them, had been homeless, or had been a representative of Rethink Village trying to establish relationships. Part of this process would be to establish these connections and it would be advantageous for a person in the construction industry to be part of the construction committee at Rethink Village to help the collection process along. Once these relationships are formed, the process would take on a life of its own. Architects, spec writers, and contractors could incorporate language that would provide contractors a way to set aside materials and establish a collection/transport process. Once materials were collected, it became apparent that a proper, secure, and large enough storage yard would be required to store materials. The storage yard would need to be divided into several segments that would allow for component inventorying, processing, and distribution for builds. A larger area would be required to sort through collected materials and allow for same dismantling of salvageable materials. Possession of materials without tools presents a problem. The tools necessary for the build were simple, nothing out of the ordinary, but still needed. As part of the collection process, tools would also be sought out to complement the array of tools that may already be available within the community. Once there was a firm grasp of the inventoried materials and design took place, the build process started.
Foundation There are many sites within the community where a concrete slab would be available to build on, however; I decided to choose a site that would require a foundation. Using left over corner masonry blocks, I developed a detail that would allow the blocks to act as piers and be crossed by 2x6s and covered by plywood to create a foundation. The anchoring system detailed is similar to that used by mobile homes; an anchor strap would be staked into the earth at an angle securing both the block and 2x providing a secure foundation on which to build the walls.
(To see the video of the build please visit http://kab-3thesis.blogspot.com/2008/10/foundation.html or the CD at the back of the book.)
Materials • 2x6x8’ wood studs - 7 • Masonry blocks – 28 • 16d nails - 1 lb Tools • Hammer (2) • Hand saw (2, skill saw preferred) • Level (small and large) • Tape measure • Steaks • Staking string • Gloves • Goggles • Water Man hours: 8-12
The first task to building the foundation was to stake out the footprint of the dwelling. In order to ensure straight and square sting lines, a starting point needed to be established, crossed to another stake to establish a 45 degree angle, crossed straight past the first dimension to establish another 45, and repeated footprint was closed. The footprint which we used was more complicated than what should be used. A square footprint would greatly reduce unneeded complications and reduce the man hours dramatically. Once the footprint was established, the rest of the foundation process fell into place. The masonry blocks were placed in a pattern that provided support to the ends, being careful not to have spans larger than 32 inches at the 2x6s and not more than 28 inches when the plywood is applied. The blocks at the perimeter were laid in a way that allowed the 2x to be placed as close to the perimeter the block would allow. This allowed the sill plate and walls to be nailed in place without fear of running a nail into the block and weakening the foundation. Additional support was used where I felt there was too much deflection5. The spacing used proved to be adequate and when using ¾” plywood there would be no deflection to speak of. Laying out the 2x6s and securing them with the straps was the most straight forward part of building the foundation. Once all the floor boards (2x6s) were secured we moved onto the floor sheathing. We used ½” plywood for the floor sheathing and attached full sheets starting at one corner of the dwelling. We then moved to the opposite corner and attached another sheet, leaving a cut sheet in the middle. In order to cut the sheets to cover the angled areas at the sitting room and entry we placed the sheet at a corner and marked off where the coverage was needed and made the cut, we repeated this process until all areas were covered with the floor sheathing. Again, a square footprint would have made this process significantly easier and quicker.
We used ½” plywood that was collected, it proved to be adequate, but I would recommend that ¾” be used when available and save the ½” for either the roofing or siding. 55
Framing The framing of this dwelling was done in six exterior walls and one additional wall that created the roof element. In framing these walls I learned that it is essential to take your time and think all the studs out. Even with the framing plans to reference, it was evident that it may not take too much skill and training to swing a hammer but guidance from a framer would make a huge difference in time saved doing it right the first time.
(To see the video of the build please visit http://kab3-thesis.blogspot.com/2008/10/framing.html or the CD at the back of the book.)
Materials 2x4x8’ wood studs - 72 2x4x10’ wood studs – 4 16d nails - 8 lbs Tools Hammer (2) Work table Saw horses (2sets) Hand saw (2, skill saw preferred) Level (small and large) Tape measure Steaks (12” long, metal) Ladder Gloves Goggles Water Man hours – 9-15
Framing the walls went fairly quickly and less complicated than the staking process proved to be. A good hammer, some nails, and a flat surface is all that is really required to frame walls. That little extra experience will make this process a bit smother but is not yet all that crucial to the success. Starting again with the most straight-forward wall (W6), a dry run proved valuable, placing all the studs where the framing plan indicated and then measuring the center line of the studs on the sill plate and top plate made for attaching the studs a simple and efficient. Again starting from one side, I worked myself around the wall until all the studs were nailed in place. Putting in the horizontal blocking support is where some experience will come in handy. I had already moved the wall and moved on to the next wall before I realized that I needed to add the blocking. Moving the wall a couple times made the connections weak and I felt that I needed to start over. This time I repeated what I had previously done but \the blocking was put in at the same time as the studs. This made moving the wall and storing it much easier and more secure. Construction of these walls can be done either during the build or, to reduce down time, many walls could be ‘pre-fabricated’ in the storage yard and set aside until the day of the build. Either way it will be necessary to have some basic understanding of the framing plans prior to swinging away. The most inspiring part of building the walls was the amount of help that came my way, including a neighbor who was a framing contractor who offered materials and some of his time to help raise the walls, my sister-in-law who has very little prior building experience spent one weekend helping frame and stand the walls, also my wife’s uncle who had been a framer between high school and joining the Air Force. They all told me that getting out doors and building things with their hands was a far better use of time than sitting around the house, and it came with a reward not too often felt – a feeling of accomplishment and a job well done, something to be proud of and have the ability to say, “I built that. I was part of something meaningful.”
Roofing When developing the plans and workable details, a decision was made to develop a system that included no trusses. The lack of trusses favored a simpler process and skill set in providing a secure and reliable roof system. A simple jig was utilized to create the back wall/roof component, creating the high roof that will allow for circulation of air. The lower roof was framed on top of the top plates and then covered with ½” sheets of OSB.
(To see the video of the build please visit http://kab3-thesis.blogspot.com/2008/10/roofing.htmll or the CD at the back of the book.)
Materials • 2x4x8’ wood studs - 32 • 4x8x1/2” OSB – 5 • 16d nails - 4 lb Tools • • • • • • • • • •
Hammer (2) Work Table Hand saw (2, skill saw preferred) Saw horses (2 sets) Level (small and large) Tape measure Ladder Gloves Goggles Water
Man hours – 8-12
Rear wall/roof jig
Roof joist attached to rear wall
Attach 10" filler
Attach 12" splice
Skins There were several areas where some sort of ‘skin’ was required to make this house compete to the level of becoming a home. For the purpose of this build, a small application of all the different ‘skins’ was demonstrated, such as: exterior sheathing, exterior finish material, roofing sheathing, roofing material, and interior gypsum board.
(To see the video of the build please visit http://kab3-thesis.blogspot.com/2008/10/roofing.html or the CD at the back of the book.)
Materials • 4x8x1/2” OSB – 7 (roof sheathing) • 250 S.F. of plastic siding/asphalt shingle/etc (roofing material) • 4x8x1/2” OSB – 16 (exterior sheathing) • 500 S.F. of plastic siding/exterior grade plywood/etc (exterior finish material) • 700 S.F. of drywall • 16d nails - 4 lb • Drywall nails – 1 lb Tools • • • • • • • • • • Hammer (2) Work Table Hand saw (2, skill saw preferred) Saw horses (2 sets) Level (small and large) Tape measure Ladder Gloves Goggles Water
Man hours – 8-12
Level of Completion Architecture is a rare subject, in that there is a fine line of being done and still having plenty left to finish up. Construction on the other hand is very clear when a project is done. This community, this idea of working with the homeless, this vernacular type of architecture and construction, will be in many ways complete; by the number of people that Rethink Village will serve, help and reintegrate back into mainstream society yet allow for areas of improvement in infrastructure and new discussions of how homeless persons live day to day within the community rather than outside the community and thus never complete. As one home is built and another person joins the community, another home is started. This community will continue to grow until the site physically cannot sustain any more growth leading way to another site.
Community Involvement A project really comes to life is when the community becomes involved. In many cases, the community only becomes involved in a project until after the doors have been opened to the public. This is an interesting phenomenon that has just recently become the norm. It used to be that the community got involved in nearly every aspect of building a community from raising of a barn to the building or a church or school house, to making sure these developments had the necessary tools and materials to complete the job. Interestingly enough, I have found that there is still a desire to get out and participate in the community and build with others. This is extremely evident in programs such as Habitat for Humanity, the rural studio program at Auburn University, the work and research being done at Ball State University with the “one small project” (Wes Janz n.d.), faith based building missions, and even celebrities like Brad Pitt (“Make it Right” project) are getting involved with hands on support and construction while connecting with people. In order for Rethink Village to be successful in Las Vegas, it must be supported by the architectural community, with architects at the helm providing leadership. Our skill set can ensure proper design, construction and coordination with minimal materials, alternative building methods and unique approaches to resolving issues that are faced by the homeless community. Architects are trained to design pleasing, comfortable spaces with the user in mind while providing a sense of belonging within ones surroundings. Architects are trained to listen to the client’s desires, program, and constraints and then provide design solutions that best fit the client. Hassan Fathy did not just provide architecture for the poor but created a way for the ‘homeless’ of his region a way to better themselves and create with their own hands a home, a skill that could be used for a source of income. It is these concepts that I propose architects stand up and share. The result of community involvement in projects and communities like this will help remove some social barriers between the homeless and mainstream society while providing a way for individuals to give back in a way that allows for a personal connection with people looking to improve themselves that may not otherwise do so.
The Process When starting a project that has more questions than answers, it is often the case that failures account for a large portion of the successes. Hassan Fathy said, “Only by knowing the mistakes in an idea can you find a solution to it and save it from the beginning.” It was only with failures that I was able to discover where I need to improve. By building my own unit I was able to test my design, see where I failed and adjust as I went along. Doing this, I corrected many things in the field, while other items worked themselves out on paper after I was able to touch and examine my failures. When details were successful, I was able to step back and examine what made them work. What was it that had occurred, what was the root of the success? More often than not I had slowed down, stepped back, paid attention to those that were working with me and I listened. What was happening was a connection with people, a connection with people that had a different background than me, were not as invested in the process as I was, yet had a clear vision of what it was that I had set out to accomplish. This build in a community devoted to the success of its residents provides for a situation in which they are willing to place themselves outside a comfort level and trust others that are not in the same social or economical class but part of the same goal, being an active, productive part of their community. Influencing the future
“As individuals, most American architects sincerely assert that they are deeply concerned about issues of social and economic justice. Yet, over the past twenty years, as a profession they have steadily moved away from engagement with any social issues, even those that fall within their realm of professional competence, such as homelessness, the growing crisis in affordable and appropriate housing, the loss of environmental quality, and the challenge posed by traffic-choked, increasingly unmanageable urban areas.” ~ Margaret Crawford
If, in the end, this community provides a viable solution to helping homeless people access a better way to develop social skill, labor skills, self-worth, self-respect and a sense of belonging while turning a new leaf towards being reintegrated into the mainstream society, then this community will be a huge success. If this community, brought about by people willing to work with each other, materials once discarded, and commitment to get involved rather than setting aside, provokes a new awareness and conversation about how a city can work with the homeless community to better assist their way of living and build upon social issues surrounding them, success can be realized.
Hands-on leadership and teaching can be resurrected within the architectural community. Architecture has become a place where it is all but forbidden to collaborate on ideas and concepts because of fear of competition, compensation, and lawsuits. The concepts explored and tested here can also serve the design profession for the betterment of architects and the community. It has been asked: Is it best to “design for” or would the design profession be better served to “design with” the builders of informal cities” I believe that in order for communities, community leaders and architects to stop asking: “Why is what we did for them unappreciated, or even under used,6” architects must stop and understand what we are asking of people. We are asking them to allow us to determine how, where, and when to live. Architects must be dedicated to the process. Architects must be willing to engage our communities and get in the trenches. Architects must establish meaningful relationships with clients, users, contractors, and community leaders. It is time for architects to step out of the confines of the office, the classroom, or construction site and step into the real world where real clients live and can be involved in the decisions that will affect them the most. Rather than sit back in our comforts and talk of “social responsibility” we should engage our communities and be part of the solution by participating in the process of advancement. Bringing architects and architecture back to the role of civic contributors will rekindle the spirit of architecture that is instilled into us during our education: a sense of ownership, spirit of community, and knowledge of sustainable construction. We can use these skills to re-engage ourselves in the process. The process needs to afford architects the ability to slow down, work one-on-one with people and connect on a personal level. With this rekindling, the process can change and the commitment can be strengthened. These two areas can revolutionize the method of delivery and thus provide a better product. Whether the product be a shopping mall, a office building, a mega structure or new methods and solutions to providing homeless persons a community that is rich with ideals that they develop, a sense of ownership, self-worth and accomplishment, a skill set and a stable home life that will reawaken senses and welcome then back into mainstream society.
Dr. Wes Janzi of Ball State University, May 2008 e‐mail. 74
Appendix Rethink Village Applications
The content of the proposed following forms closely resemble those that have been adopted and used by Dignity Village, INC in Portland Oregon (Diginity Village, INC 2003). The purpose of this section is to illustrate the necessity, practically, and comprehensive review of the applicants to ensure a successful community and reinforce positive, active behavior in the pursuit of a self-built, self-governed community, as well demonstrate to the city of Las Vegas officials dedication to the process. Entrance/Exit Resident Survey
Name: ______________________________________ Age: __________ Entrance Date: __________
Reason for choosing to live at Rethink Village: ___________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Prior living situation, location: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Any additional Information: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Exit Information: Exit Date: __________
Reason for leaving Rethink Village: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Anticipated next living situation, location: _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Any additional information: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Prospective Resident Application Form
for Rethink Village
Name: ______________________________________ Age: __________ Date: __________
Is this your first time requesting residency at Rethink Village? ____________ If no, when and for how long was your previous stay? ______________________________________________________________________________ What was your reason for leaving? _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Past work experience? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Special Interests, talents or skills ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Medical Conditions: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Emergency Contact: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Check if completed: I have received an information sheet and Skills assessment form I understand the five basic rules as they have been explained to me I understand there are Bylaws that I will abide by and can obtain a copy upon request I understand that there are required membership and council meetings I understand that I must contribute to the community ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________
I understand that I cannot become a voting member until after 14 days of living at Rethink Village and be at least 18 years of age ____________ Signature ________________________________ Name you wish to go by: _________________________
Signature of Welcoming Committee Representative: _________________________________________________
Admittance Agreement Application
for Rethink Village
What we do is based on love and respect for ourselves and each other. There will be no disrespect here based on religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, handicap, age, lifestyle choice, previous record or economic status. Our Mission We seek to create a green sustainable urban village reusing construction waste and community involvement for those who are seeking an alternative to the typical shelter. We feel it necessary to establish a community-based living community where people living on the streets can have their basic needs met in a stable, sanitary environment free of violence, drugs and alcohol until they are able to access housing. What do you want or expect from Rethink Village? __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ What can you contribute or give back to Rethink Village? __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ To stay in Rethink Village, you must agree to and follow our five basic rules: 1. No violence toward yourself or others. 2. No illegal substances or alcohol or paraphernalia on the premises or within a one-block radius. 3. No stealing. 4. Everyone contributes to the upkeep and welfare of the village and works to become a productive member of the community. 5. No disruptive behavior of any kind that disturbs the general peace and welfare of the village.
I understand that Rethink Village is incorporated as a membership-based non-profit organization. By signing this agreement, I may become eligible for membership, according to the terms of the bylaws. In addition, due to the participatory culture of Rethink Village, I understand that it is sometimes necessary to convene meetings of members or Village Councilors with less advance notice than required by NRS. Therefore, in signing this agreement, I agree to forego and forfeit all rights to advance notice of emergency meetings of the Membership or Village Council, as provided by Section 4.10.1 of the Rethink Village bylaws. I have read the Rethink Village Admittance Agreement and agree with its terms and I agree to live by these terms and the rules of the Village. Name: ___________________________________ Signature: ______________________________________ Date: ________________________________
Rethink Village Skills Assessment Form
Name: ________________________________________________ Date: _______________
Do you have any interests, hobbies or skills you may be able to donate to your community? The following check list will help you think about different ways you can contribute and be an active member of Rethink Village: Are you artistic, creative? o o o o Drawing, lettering for logos, Signs, illustrations, posters, flyers, etc Computer graphics Write articles, stories, promotions, etc Performance (acting, magic, dancing, music) for either presentations or community gatherings
Do you have presentation skills? o o Speaking, presenting to groups in the city and community Sitting on a panel to answer questions about Rethink Village to the city and community groups
Do you have organizational and/or office skills? o o o Filing, folding flyers, stuffing envelopes for mailing volunteer, activity and task coordination Phone skills for events, meetings, follow-up responses, etc.
Do you have any technical/trained skills? o o o o o o Experience in system management Electrical wiring Plumbing Framing (construction) Reading/creating construction plans Reading/interpreting zoning/building codes
Please list any other skills that you feel will contribute to the success and growth to Rethink Village: ________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Appendix Rethink Village Bylaws
The content of the proposed following Bylaws closely resemble those that have been incorporated and adopted by Dignity Village, INC in Portland Oregon (Diginity Village, INC 2003). The purpose of this section is to illustrate the necessity, practically, and legality of such documents to ensure a successful community and reinforce positive, active behavior in the pursuit of a self-built, self-governed community, as well demonstrate to the city of Las Vegas officials dedication to the process.
BYLAWS OF RETHINK VILLAGE, INC.
ARTICLE I NAME AND OFFICE Section 1.01 -- Name The name of the Corporation shall be Rethink Village. Section 1.02 - Office The principal office shall be located at such an address as the Village Council may from time to time determine. Section 1.03 - Purpose Rethink Village is an intentional community dedicated to helping homeless people resolve the issues and problems that resulted in their homelessness. We do not discriminate for age, gender or gender identity, race or ethnic origin or for any other reason. The purposes for which this Corporation is organized are exclusively charitable and educational and consist of the following: (1) To create a safe, clean, self-governed community environment for economically distressed residents of the State of Nevada, through establishment of an open-air place where people living on the streets can have their basic needs met in a stable, sanitary environment, until they are able to access another form of housing more in keeping with said resident’s personal goals and aspirations. (2) To promote community wide interest and concern for homeless and other economically distressed residents of the State of Nevada, to the end that: (a) their quality of life may be improved, (b) their educational and economic opportunities may be improved, (c) sickness, poverty and crime may be lessened, (d) all
constitutional and human rights of all people are respected and protected, (e) mutual interdependence of all people may be recognized, and (f) the mutual aid among, by and for poor people may be facilitated. (3) To provide basic living facilities for otherwise homeless individuals, using temporary, semi-permanent and/or permanent structures, and to engage in alternative, sustainable, earth-friendly housing development and production and related activities in order to improve the living conditions and economic wellbeing of said individuals. (4) To create an environment of unity, non-violence, self-determination and cooperation that encourages economically distressed residents to pursue their life goals and aspirations, especially with regard to adequate education, housing and employment, with a sense of self-respect and dignity. (4) To create an environment of unity, non-violence, self-determination and cooperation that encourages economically distressed residents to pursue their life goals and aspirations, especially with regard to adequate education, housing and employment, with a sense of self-respect and dignity. (5) To provide peer-based support services to said residents to assist them in the pursuit and actualization of their life goals and aspirations with regard to housing, education and work, and to enter into collaborative partnerships with certain private businesses, non-profit organizations and/or government agencies for such purposes. (6) To expand the opportunities available to said residents to own, manage, and operate and develop worker-owned and operated enterprises, and to assist said residents in developing entrepreneurial and management skills for the successful operation of such enterprises. (7) To do any and all lawful activities which may be necessary, useful, or desirable for the furtherance, accomplishment, fostering, or attainment of the foregoing purposes, either directly or indirectly and either alone or in conjunction or cooperation with others, whether such others be persons or organizations of any kind or nature, such as corporations, firms, associations, trusts, institutions, foundations, or governmental agencies, bureaus or departments. (8) Subject to the limitations stated in the Articles of Incorporation, this corporation may engage in any other lawful activity, none of which are for profit, for which corporations may be organized under the Nevada Revised Statutes (or its corresponding future provisions) and Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or its corresponding future provisions). ARTICLE II MEMBERSHIP Section 2.01 -- Members There shall be voting Members of this Corporation, as provided in these Bylaws. Section 2.02 -- Eligibility for Membership Any person 18 years of age or older shall be eligible for voting Membership within the village according to the laws of the State of Nevada, if he or she meets all of following requirements:
1. has been a resident of Rethink Village for more than fourteen days, 2. has executed an "Admittance Agreement", 3. is a resident in good standing. All members are in good standing, except members who are currently ejected or are on probationary or provisional status, due to violation of Admittance Agreement or any of its provisions, and 4. has attended at least one membership meeting. Residents meeting all of these criteria shall be Members of this corporation upon their request, unless or until membership is terminated according to the provisions of these bylaws. Section 2.03 -- Initiation of Membership The Secretary shall certify membership with regard to eligibility in Section 2.02. At least three (3) days prior to all Monthly or Special meetings of the Membership, the Secretary shall review current and active members on file and record names of current members onto a current membership list. Membership and voting privileges shall apply at said meetings only to those members thus listed, subject to review by the Village Council at their discretion. Section 2.04 -- Termination of Membership or Residency Any Member may terminate membership in the Corporation at any time by giving written notice to the Secretary of the Corporation or by abandoning their residency/membership for more than 15 days without adequate notification to the Secretary. Such termination shall become effective as of the date of receipt of written notice by the Secretary, or the end of the 15 day abandonment period, whichever applies. Anyone, including Members or residents, found to be in violation of the terms and conditions of residency/membership outlined in the Admittance Agreement, may be ejected from residency in Rethink Village by a Security Coach, a corporate officer, by a majority vote of the Village Council, or a subcommittee of the Council appointed for that purpose. Membership of ejected members is automatically suspended for the duration of an ejection (for up to 15 days), and/or terminated (after 15 days) due to noncompliance with the residency and "good standing" requirements for membership, as provided in Section 2.02. Members who have terminated their membership, or whose membership has been terminated, may reapply for membership, provided that they are currently in compliance with all the requirements for membership set forth in Section 2.02. Members who have been terminated for physical violence may not be eligible for re-admittance. Members whose membership is terminated due to ejection by a vote at a meeting of the Village Council have no right to appeal the termination, provided: 1) there was a quorum present at the meeting, and 2) the member under review either attended said Council meeting, or were given reasonable accommodation to attend in accordance with Sections 4.10 and 4.10.1, and chose not to attend. Members whose membership is terminated or who is ejected by any other means, such as an emergency meeting without a quorum present, or by a Security Coach or Corporate Officer, may appeal to the Village Council after a "cooling off" period of up to 24 hours, and the decision of the Council shall be final.
Section 2.05 -- Admittance Agreement: The Admittance Agreement is a legal contract between Rethink Village and each adult resident, 18 years of age or older, which sets forth the terms and conditions of residency in the Village, and bestows the privileges of residency and eligibility for membership in the Corporation.
ARTICLE III MEETINGS OF MEMBERS Section 3.01 Annual Meeting of Members Annual meetings of the membership shall be held each year during the month of December, beginning in this year 2001. At each Annual Meeting, the membership shall designate by election those members to serve on the Village Council in accordance with Sections 4.02 and 4.03. The Chairperson shall present an annual report on the activities of the corporation for the preceding year. Section 3.02-- Monthly Meeting of Members Regular monthly meetings of the Members of the Corporation shall be held for the periodic election of the Village Council members as needed to fill vacancies, for making decisions about the day-to-day operations of the Village, and for acting on any other such business as may come before such meetings. Membership Meetings shall consider proposals from members, and may adopt resolutions for the consideration of the Village Council. The Monthly Meeting of Members shall have primary responsibility for the election of Members to serve on the Village Council. The Membership is empowered to adopt and implement reasonable policies and strategies designed to encourage broad participation, and equitable and diverse representation to the Council, provided that said policies and strategies respect the Council’s need for stability and continuity, and provided they are consistent with all other provisions in these by-laws. Section 3.03 -- Special Meetings of the Members A special meeting of the Members of the Corporation may be called at any time by order of, 1) the Village Council, 2) or by a petition signed by not less than twenty-five percent (25%) of the current Members of the Corporation as per the Secretary’s most recent membership list, setting forth the, place, date and time for such special meeting, and the general nature of the business to be transacted at such meeting. The petition must be received by the Village Council not less than three (3) days before the date specified in such petition for the calling of such special meeting. Section 3.04 -- Notice of Annual, Monthly and Special Meetings of the Members Written notice of each meeting of the Members of the Corporation shall be posted conspicuously in the meeting area of the Village at least seven (7) days before the day on which such meeting is to be held. The notice shall state the place, day, and hour of the meeting, and it shall state the general nature of the business to be transacted and (for Special meetings only) by whose request the meeting was called.
Section 3.05 -- Quorums Twenty percent (20%) of the Members of the Corporation or 10 members, whichever is greater, shall be necessary and sufficient to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at all membership meetings, except as otherwise provided in these by-laws. In the absence of a quorum, a majority of the Members present may, by resolution, adjourn the meeting for the purpose of obtaining a quorum, for a period not exceeding two (2) days. Section 3.06 -- Voting Unless otherwise required by law, each Member present shall be entitled to cast one (1) vote on any and all matters for which a membership vote is permitted by law, including the Articles of Incorporation, or the bylaws of this corporation. At each meeting of the Members, all matters shall be decided by the affirmative vote of the majority of the Members of the Corporation present at such meeting, except those matters otherwise expressly regulated by statute or by another specific section of these Bylaws. Voting for the election of Councilors shall be by secret written ballot. Voting by proxy shall not be allowed. Section 3.07 - Record Date for Membership Meeting The record date for determining those members who may petition to call a special meeting of the members and who shall be eligible to vote at the meeting shall be the day before notice is posted.
ARTICLE IV VILLAGE COUNCIL (aka Board of Directors)
Section 4.01 -- Powers
The affairs of the Corporation shall be managed by the Village Council. Section 4-02 -- Number of Seats on Village Council The Village Council shall consist of any odd number of not less than three (3) and not more than twenty-five (25) Councilors, said number to be determined by a Membership Meeting and recorded in the minutes. Section 4.02.1 Board of Advisors The Council may appoint up to ten (10) ex officio advisors. Said advisors shall not have voting privileges or hold board positions or office on the Council. Section 4.03 -- Qualifications of Councilors All seats on the Village Council must be filled by current Members in good standing who have been members for at least 90 continuous days. If there is not a sufficient number of members with ninety (90) consecutive days of residency then members closest to completion of the qualifications and who are willing to serve may be elected. No persons involved with contracting services, during the term of their contract, may occupy a voting position on the Village Council. Section 4.04 -- Selection of Village Council members Members of the Village Council, including members elected to fill vacancies, shall be elected by an Annual, Monthly or Special Meeting of the Membership. Section 4.05 -- Term of Service on Village Council Members of the Village Council are elected for one year terms, except for those elected to fill vacancies. Councilors elected to fill vacancies shall serve until the next Annual Meeting of the Membership. Councilors completing a term of office may run for re-election at the end of their term.
Section 4.06 -- Non-attendance and Vacancies Any Councilor who misses three consecutive regularly scheduled meetings of the Village Council shall be given a minimum of one week written notice by the Secretary that the position will be vacated at the next Council meeting unless the member provides written excuse satisfactory to the Council at said meeting. A vote of the majority of Council members is required to remove the Council member. Vacancies on the Village Council shall be filled as provided in Section 4.04. Section 4.07 -- Resignation Any Councilor may resign at any time by written notification to the Chairperson or Secretary of the Corporation. The acceptance of any such resignation shall not be necessary to make it effective.
Section 4.08 -- Removal Any Councilor may be removed at any time, with or without cause, by a 2/3 vote of the Members of the Corporation present at a meeting of the Members of the Corporation, provided that: a) the quorum at a meeting of members in which removal is proposed shall be 35% of the members of the corporation; and b) that the meeting notice state that the purpose, or one of the purposes, of the meeting is to remove the Councilor. Section 4.09 -- Annual Meetings The Annual Meeting of the Village Council for the election of officers and for the transaction of such other business as may properly come before it shall be held within fifteen (15) days following the date of adjournment of the annual meeting of the Membership. The annual meeting of the Village Council shall be open to the attendance of Members of the Corporation and the public at large and, shall be conducted in same manner as provided in Section 4.10. Section 4.10 -- Weekly Meetings Regular weekly meetings of the Village Council shall be held at a regular time, date, and place selected by the Chairperson. Other meetings may be called as needed, provided that notice and quorum requirements are met. All meetings of the Council shall be open to the attendance of all residents and Members of the Corporation and the public at large. Agenda items shall be posted not less that twenty-four (24) hours in advance of the weekly meetings by the Chairperson. Member or resident participation at Council meetings shall consist of one three-minute presentation by the member or resident on the subject under consideration by the Council. Members of the Corporation or village residents not serving on the Village Council, who wish to speak to the Council, shall notify the chairperson prior to the meeting. Section 4.10.1 -- Emergency Meetings The Council may call emergency meetings without notice to address issues of violence or other imminent threats to the safety and security of the Village and its residents. Emergency meetings may be held at any time when called by order of the Chairperson of the Council, the Security Coordinator, or any officer and five (5) Councilors, or a majority of Councilors. The entire Council shall be given as much notice by conveners of emergency meetings as is practical in light of the circumstances. Conveners of emergency meetings to review actions of individuals, will attempt in good faith to notify said individuals that their behavior is under review, provided their presence is not disruptive to the meeting or to the village . Maintaining the safety and security of the Village shall take precedent over the need to notify potentially dangerous individuals, and the Council is under no legal or other obligation to provide any notice or access whatsoever if, at the Council’s sole discretion, it is deemed dangerous to do so. Emergency meetings shall only consider or take action on the specific emergency situation that prompted the meeting in the first place. Section 4. 11 -- Minutes of the Meetings
Records of all meetings of the Village Council and any committees shall be taken by the Secretary, or some other duly designated person present on behalf of the Secretary, and be made available to the Membership as directed by the Council. Section 4. 12 -- Notice Written notice of meetings of the Village Council shall be printed in 36 or larger point typeface and posted in plain view in the Village meeting area, not less than seven (7) days before the day on which the meeting is to be held. Each such notice shall state the day, time, and place of such meeting. There is no notice requirement for emergency meetings of the Council. Section 4.13 -- Quorum A majority of the Councilors shall constitute a quorum. In the absence of a quorum, a majority of the Councilors present may, by resolution, adjourn the meeting for a period not exceeding two (2) days.
Section 4.14 -- Voting At all meetings of the Village Council, except as otherwise expressly required by these Bylaws, all matters shall be decided by the vote of a majority of the Councilors present at that meeting. Section 4.15 -- Reports The Village Council shall present at each annual meeting of the Members of the Corporation an annual report of the Corporation's activities during the preceding year. Additional reports may be required by vote of the general Membership for the Corporation.
ARTICLE V OFFICERS Section 5.01 -- Titles and Qualifications The Officers of the Corporation shall be Council Members and include a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, and such other officers as may from time to time be appointed by the Village Council. Section 5.02 -- Election and Term of Office
Each officer shall be elected by a majority vote of the Village Council at its first meeting and thereafter shall be elected annually, or more frequently as needed to fill any vacancies, by the Council at its regular, special or annual meetings. New offices may be created and filled at any meeting of the Village Council. Each such officer shall hold office until the next annual meeting, or until his or her death, resignation, or removal. Section 5.03 -- Resignations Any officer may resign at any time by delivering a written resignation to the Chairperson or the Secretary. The acceptance of any such resignation, unless required by the terms thereof, shall not be necessary to make it effective. Section 5.04 -- Removal Any officer may be removed at any time, either, with or without cause, by a vote of a 2/3 majority of the Village Council present at the meeting, provided that the notice of said meeting shall have specified the proposed removal. Such removal shall apply only to the office being held by said Councilor and not to said Councilor’s membership on the Council. Section 5.05 -- Chairperson of the Council The Chairperson shall call all regular meetings of the Council; make appointments to all committees subject to the approval of the Village Council; conduct all meetings of the Council and the General Membership; notify the Council of any vacancies; shall set the agenda 24 hours in advance of Council meetings, except for emergency meetings, and shall have such other powers and duties not inconsistent with these Bylaws as may be assigned to him or her from time to time by the Village Council. Section 5.06 -- The Vice-Chairperson of the Council The Vice-Chairperson of the Council shall act in the absence of the Chairperson, and shall have such other powers and duties not inconsistent with these bylaws as may be assigned to him or her from time to time by the Village Council. Section 5.07 -- The Secretary The Secretary shall keep the records of the minutes of all meetings of the Village Council, and of the Members of the Corporation in a secure place on the premises of the Corporation in one or more books provided for that purpose, with the time and place of the holding of the meetings, how they were called or authorized, the notice given thereof, the names of those present, and the proceedings thereof. The Secretary shall be the custodian of all records and documents; shall keep a list of all current residents and members, and in general shall perform all other duties not inconsistent with these Bylaws, as are incident to the office of Secretary, or as may be assigned from time to time by the Village Council or the Chairperson of the Corporation.
Section 5.08 -- The Treasurer The Treasurer shall have charge and custody of and be responsible for all funds and securities of the Corporation. The treasurer, or a delegated member of the corporation, shall carry out the following
a. Have the care of, receive, and give receipt for the monies due and payable to the Corporation, b. Deposit all monies received in the name of the Corporation in such banks, trust companies, or other depositories as from time to time may be designated by the Village Council-, c. Have charge of the disbursement of the monies of the Corporation in accordance with the directions of the Village Council; d. Enter regularly in books to be kept by him or her, or under his or her direction for that purpose, a complete and correct account of all monies received and disbursed by him or her for the account of the Corporation, e. Render a statement of his or her account to the Village Council at such times as may be requested-, f. Submit a financial report to the Membership at monthly meetings of the Members of the Corporation, g. Exhibit the books of account of the Corporation and all securities, vouchers, papers, and documents of the Corporation in his or her custody to any Member upon written request within a minimum of 24 hours or at the next Village Council meeting. h. Arrange for audits of the Corporation's financial accounts, and i. In general, have such other powers and perform such other duties, not inconsistent with these Bylaws, as are incident to the office of Treasurer or as may be assigned to him or her from time to time by the Village Council.
ARTICLE VI AMENDMENT OF BYLAWS Bylaws may be amended or repealed, and new Bylaws may be enacted, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Membership of the Village by means of secret written ballots. Members may amend the Bylaws, change or repeal amendment of these Bylaws, or change the authorized number of Councilors of the Corporation. In addition to being posted in accordance with Section 3.04 in the common meeting area, written notice of any proposed amendment to the Bylaws shall be presented to the Village Council and posted on the residence of every Member at least fifteen (15) days prior to the meeting at which the proposed amendment or repeal is acted upon. The Quorum requirement for Membership Meetings considering an amendment of the Bylaws shall be two-thirds (2/3) of the membership.
Appendix Distance Studio Work Proposal
Summary Thesis Proposal Outline Kenneth A. Ballard January 14, 2008 Program Entry: January, 2007 Rethinking Homeless Living: ...establish a (self -built) community-based living facility where people living on the streets can have their basic needs met in a stable, sanitary environment free of violence, drugs and alcohol until they are able to access (traditional) housing. ~ Dignity Village Thesis Abstract: The highest concentration of the Las Vegas homeless community is in our downtown district where the Mayor and city council has made a clear and focused effort to not only revitalize downtown and attract tourists, new business but to eliminate a large number of its citizens. Within a 4 mile radius of the core of downtown are 5 shelters. These shelters set out to provide the basic of basic needs... shelter for the night, a hot dinner and assistance to contact other social services. This type of “assisting” the homeless in Las Vegas follows the same format as most of the nation and our homeless community is viewed and assessed in the same manner as those in Los Angles or Miami. Simply to offer an overcrowded, underfunded, ‘night’ stay only facility is not a ‘be all, end all’ solution to providing housing for the homeless community. A successful homeless community within the Portland, Oregon area has provided an ownership based- model that is self-owned, self-built, self-sustaining, self-governed and relies upon its citizens for the means and methods for continued growth. This ownership based model does not look at the number of people served in a day, week, month but the number of people that have been re-integrated back into the main-stream community. Thesis Statement: In the city of Las Vegas there is an estimated 14,500 people within the homeless population. Nevada is the second fastest-growing state in the nation, the promise of steady work to sustain the casino industry and the booming construction industry has enticed thousands of new residents each month for the past several years. Although Las Vegas is proud of its low unemployment rates, no state income tax and inexpensive bountiful food buffets there is an alarming amount of homeless, the staggering 14,500 homeless equates to nearly all of the 0.68% of Nevadans who are homeless; ranking the highest in the US and more than double the national average. Statistics support that although the Las Vegas homeless population percentage is more than double the national average, the homeless of Las Vegas have suffered from economical hard times, slowing of the housing market, and diminishing low-rent housing. A recent survey indicated that 16 percent of the homeless population are employed, 25 percent are veterans, 31 percent are disabled 33 percent have made Las Vegas their home for over a decade and at least 73 percent have, at a minimum, a high school education. I will evaluate how and why a self-built, self-owned homeless community can better serve the downtown Las Vegas homeless community and lessen the financial impact to the city as well as influence the stigma surrounding the homeless community... Framing the Thesis: How is the work situated in terms of historical, social or cultural context? o Main stream perception of the homeless not wanting to be more than they have become. o What about this type of community can change the design and function of tradition shelters To what other disciplines other than architecture and design am I looking at during the thesis and research? 90
o o o Non architectural/design topics Alternative education models that surround themselves in ownership The principles of Hassan Fathy providing affordable housing built and maintained by the user (community). Applying principles of developing other traditional transitional housing for a mainstream social issue (AA, battered women, foster homes) Do the “proposals to provide” fit within the Las Vegas culture and expectations of the homeless? Are the needs, standards and guidelines universal to all homeless? Considerations to be aware of? What makes the Portland model successful? Interview the homeless both in and out of shelters. What aspects of a shelter is a turn off. How can a sense of ownership define a space?
Architectural lessons from non architectural o Principles of the room/school layouts o Economical and environmental benefits to a selfbuilt housing/community o What aspects of the traditional architecture can influence the non-traditional aspects of the selfbuilt housing/community How do I see my thesis on terms of its relationship to practice, where practice is understood as a culturally suited activity? o How can the architect as a planner have a positive impact on a community where the two typically do not have common interaction? Who is the audience...? o The city planners of Las Vegas o The homeless o The shelters for the homeless o Other architects and public figures Methods of Inquiry: o Design Inspiration: o materiality earth material housing alternate construction (materials) o Case studies of several established self sustained homeless communities, primarily Dignity Village.
Building Program: Examine the methods, aspects, and planning techniques of Hassan Fathy and how they can be implemented/adapted to an American homeless culture? o Identify local resources o Adapt Fathy’s ideas and techniques to locally available resources and materials o Identify where the principles of Fathy’s design, material selection, and overall attitude for providing architecture for the poor is successful. Examine the role of the Architect during the planning and oversight of developing a community master plan. o Why the architect should be a voice of advocacy for the development of a “self-built” homeless community... ensuring acceptable, safe, pleasing and sustainable architecture o Identify access to the bus system, social services (health, job placement, community centers), onsite gardening/food source, storage, waste removal, infrastructure... o Cost analysis for the construction of a shelter and operating costs vs. a self-sustaining, self built “shelter” by the homeless
Technical Issues: How does the infrastructure work? o sanitation o water o air-condition o food source o Cost analysis for the construction of a shelter and operating costs vs. a self-sustaining, self built “shelter” by the homeless. Location of Site: How can the potential cost of a site be offset by other funding that is currently in place? Identify what aspects of site location would best suit the community at large, the city, local business and the homeless possible site locations o Downtown area near Bonanza and the Spaghetti bowl (I-15 and I-95) Owner: Mesquite Partners, LTD Size: 5.78 acres Zoned: M (Industrial) Owner - City of North Las Vegas Size: 6 acres Zoned: FWY
Public Policy: How does rethinking homeless living...? o Impact the tourist experience o Cost reduction implications of security personal o Will public parks be reopened o Reverse/abandon the ‘no feed law’ o Rethink sense of ownership o Rethink sense of community (reunite the community as a whole) o Rethink affordable housing o Rethink basic needs o Rethink social programs Theory: What is needed for basic survival? o Rethink affordable housing o Rethink basic needs o Rethink social programs
Industrial area just North of Downtown near Losee and Lake Mead along I-15
Appendix Intensive One Review – Comments and Responses Jury Members: Jeff Stein, Ian Taberner
Jeff Stein: Where are services provided, how is food supplied, what supports the community? Response: These are issues that will answer themselves as I dive deeper into architectural solutions, but yes I need to be very cogent of these issues and provide answers that are real and meaningful. Jury Member: What is the inventory of building waste to be used as building components? Response: My first thought is construction waste from casinos, so... wood and metal framing, typical type 2 and 5 construction materials Ian Taberner: Besides Fathy, what other precedents can be studied that can provide answers that can be related to providing homes for homeless people? Maybe Taliesin West, students have to build a place to live for the semester.
A mixed feeling was left after the final presentation… I had hoped for more of a unanimous outpouring of approval and willingness to get on board. Although there was a spirited discussion and was stopped short, I felt as though I had made an impact on the social importance of this project yet failed to convey the importance the role of the architect. In every aspect of life, someone, a designer; has made a decision that either directly or indirectly impacts us, how we walk up stairs, how we maneuver through a museum, what it is like to stand in a vast open space and not feel out of place or little. These same feelings and emotions are praised in nearly every, if not all, pieces of ‘great’ architecture. This is done because architects learn about the subject they are design for, we become intimate with the users, materials, and emotions. What I propose is no different, I am suggesting that this same approach can be relayed to providing for the homeless or what some to believe a social problem that can be swept away under the carpet by thrusting upon the homeless some ‘grand’ building and allowing them to use it for the night and then again at night. I believe that my next steps need to define what my goals are for Rethink Village, what will be the catalyst for the architectural solution? Fathy is a good start, but I need to explore other topics, areas of interest and precedents that will provide the catalyst that I am seeking to send this thesis over the top and provide a permanent foundation for the rest of the process.
Appendix Intensive Two Review – Comments and Responses Jury Members: Curt Lamb, Tom Parks, Jeff Stein, Herb Childress, Ian Taberner
Curt Lamb: Can they [dwellings] be built to acceptable standards? Response: There will be a set of Design standards that will be agreed upon by the City and represent ivies from Rethink Village that will meet the spirit of the development code. Curt Lamb: How long will it take to build a dwelling and how will one someone transition from the ‘streets’ to the community? Response: I imagine that it would take a construction team a weekend to construct a dwelling provided all the material are available, but it will take a build to really answer that. Curt Lamb: Can a social or legal organization be founded as to help drive up support and success of this community? Response: Yes, the community in Portland, Oregon has had success with help from the community in various walks of life that assist and partner with the community to achieve tougher obstacles. Jeff Stein: Interesting notion to have this type of community build their own home Response: True, this is not the normal solution to providing accessible housing for the homeless, but I feel the current format is not sufficient in providing basic needs for extended amounts of time, where as if someone is committed to changing their outlook in life the act of building one’s own house brings them closer to returning to the mainstream society. Jeff Stein: How do they [homeless] get services in this community? Response: this community focuses on building a stable community life and a sense of ownership. This community will allow other organizations to focus on what they do best… provide medical treatment, job placement, deal with substance addictions, etc. Although as the community grows there will be space provided for services like this to exist. Jeff Stein: How many people will this site, this community serve? Response: I suspect that there will be enough resources to serve 100- 140 people after the completion of all three phases. However that number is subject to change based on the effectiveness and “release” of individuals back into mainstream society. Herb Childress: The site seems to lack a graduation of spaces, there is no real sense of place yet, what can be done to develop special relations within the site? Response: I suspect that that will occur as the site is developed and community grows up. I will incorporate and better define the communities’ (Las Vegas) role within the ‘village’, possible activities could be a movie night where revenue could be generated for Rethink Village, a recycling station, an arts event could also trigger community involvement (Las Vegas). Ian Taberner: Is there a design process for each dwelling? Response: There will be a set of design standards that will indicate how a dwelling will use certain available materials and setbacks etc. Ian Taberner: Should/can amenities be based on local taxes? Response: There would have to great local support for the public to agree to use tax dollars
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The difference between the first intensive and this last intensive is that I feel that I have a better grasp of what I am really trying to accomplish. Unlike after the first intensive review where I was a bit uncertain where this thesis was headed I left the second intensive with confidence that I could complete what I had set out to ultimately do… provide a viable alternative solution to providing housing for homeless persons. I don’t ever think that I had set out to design a certain type of unit or building type exactly, I found myself interested in providing a solution that created a sense of ownership, self-worth, community pride, etc, concepts that are not necessarily expressed in certain window treatments, conveyed by a certain architectural language. Through the topics of research and case studies [precedents] chosen I feel that I am more capable of providing a feasible reliable solution that is capable of being accepted by a community (Las Vegas) and welcomed by the homeless community. As I prepared myself for the steps ahead, Collect+Design+Build; I am more confident that I will succeed. I am also pleased with the vivacious discussions that have resulted from my research, approach, and process
Appendix Intensive Three Review – Comments and Responses Jury Members: Curt Lamb, Denise Dea, Herb Childress, Ian Taberner, Classmates Classmates: Why does the design have two separate spaces? Response: This dwelling was designed with positive community and social interaction in mind, in order to promote this idea I felt it necessary to provide a room that would promote interaction. In nearly all single family houses and apartments there is a common room, a family room; that is used for social gatherings, this type of use and activity is important in developing social skills that will be valuable when the resident re-integrates back into the main stream society and there is also a private and secure room for the owner of the unit to sleep and store personal item. Curt Lamb: How do you feel about the viability of this proposal in Las Vegas after working on this for the past 6 months? Response: I feel the success of this proposal depends on two items: Construction feasibility - developing a system that allows for these homes to be constructed by the homeless with minimal assistance from the community and Community involvement – developing a secure community with opportunities for the ‘mainstream’ community to get involved with Rethink Village as well as developing a method for collecting and storing construction materials. In the first review, the possibility for this community to ‘produce’ jobs in the areas of construction waste removal, framing labor, etc was mentioned; and I feel that with the rate of construction and the high costs of waste removal that these types of services can and would be used by the construction industry in Las Vegas. In order to see these two items through I feel it important that this project would require the right kind of leadership, the role of the architect as a leader in the construction process as well as a
voice of advocacy along with other organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Goodwill, etc that could help progress efforts alongside those of the homeless persons wanting to develop and be part of Rethink Village. Ian Taberner: What can you do to improve this design, to better enable homeless persons in building their own homes, and develop the site to encourage community involvement other than just building homes? Response: I suspect with little to no prior experience one could build their own home. This is where the architect as a leader can step in; with the input and direction from the residents, develop a series of steps to be followed that would allow for the same result time and time again. I image that there could be several solutions that can respond to the available materials as wells space requirements and pre-assembled parts for rapid/same day occupancy. Classmates: In order to facilitate availability and transportation of materials to the community, could developing a LEEP point section be beneficial? Response: Once the series of steps has been developed and a work plan, framing plans, details, materials lists, etc has been developed, those items can be distributed to participating companies that would then use them as a ‘shopping list” of sorts that would allow for the community to obtain workable materials and provide much valuable LEED points to a project.
Curt Lamb: Is this dwelling habitable in the hot Las Vegas climate?
Appendix Response: Yes. The temperatures that we encountered when building this living unit well exceeded 112 degrees and once the roof/wall sheathing and finish materials made their way on it dramatically reduced the temperature by an easy 15-20 degrees. Curt Lamb: Although not directly part of the architectural solution, this project deserves some thought as to how community issues are addressed and what can be expected as to prevent this community from becoming a dangerous, filthy, drug infested area? Response: I agree, and while researching and visiting Dignity Village in Portland I realized that the residents put a lot of stock into their self-built, self-governed community, so much that they have developed, with outside support and counsel, a set of incorporated bylaws, a code of conduct and application process that is strictly enforced. I plan to include examples of the same type of language that Rethink Village would adopt and adhere to.
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The process of defining the site and creating a community from a concept of reusing construction waste and unskilled labor with and for homeless developed into adapting these concepts, visions and desire into a building. I found that, like the build, I entered the review with some doubt about how this work would be received and as I moved deeper into the presentation, just like the build, people on the sideline became engaged with the presentation, the following discussion and ultimately wanting to become part of the solution. I realized that this project meant something different to everyone that came into contact with it. For some classmates it was a reexamination of how our profession can be more involved in the community outside the direct path of architecture and we can be used as a tool within our community, while others seemed to be interested in how LEED could be used to assist both this type of community as well as provide opportunities to obtain LEED points for a project while truly living the spirit of LEED. Instructors and staff found value in the attempt to solve an issue in the context of an academic setting, using analytical and practical solutions that architectural schools strive to develop in their students while creating a document that could be used as a viable and important part of a presentation to the City of Las Vegas or other cities as a ‘how to guide’ for starting a community like Rethink Village. While I took away; among other things, what it takes/means to be able to execute, demonstrate and convey a concept, design or way of thinking to others that may not, at first, understand what I as an architect am asking of others. Whether it is a design idea, a method used to detail connections, teaching someone how to communicate with building departments, responding to construction questions or simply just working with people and listening to what it is that will a the best for them. Self worth, self respect, learning new trades (ideas), and stepping outside a comfort level to make a difference is what I took away from this experience.
Appendix Various Texts Emails
Below is a selection of emails during the Thesis process. These emails have provided information, insight and direction. As I progressed towards completion the following emails will pushed me along, refocused my efforts, and really helped me rethink homeless living.
On Tue 4/22/2008 11:35 AM, Woody LaBounty wrote: Ken, I'll forward your email to earthquake shack expert Jane Cryan. She's retired from the business, having dedicated a couple of decades to researching and saving refugee shacks, but you might get lucky and she'll feel inspired to find some numbers for you. Type A shacks were 10 x 14, and I think Jane said only about 500 were built. Type B shacks were the most prevalent and I think they were about 14 x 18. Type C's measured 18 x 24, I think? Just a couple of them survive today. The fourth size I think were more in the style of barracks, but Jane would be better able to tell you on that. Overall, 5,610 refugee cottages were constructed. A couple of hundred were burned or broken up, but the rest were hauled off to be new homes when the camps closed. Good luck with your thesis! Woody LaBounty Western Neighborhoods Project www.outsidelands.org On Apr 20, 2008, at 5:07 PM, Kenneth Ballard wrote: Woody, Thanks for taking time to talk to me on your Sunday afternoon. As I mentioned, I am working on my Thesis at the Boston Architectural College in Boston, Ma. The title of my thesis is, "Rethinking Homeless Living". As a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, I feel that there is a delinquency in how our homeless community is viewed and through my thesis I plan to offer non-traditional suggestions to help the situation. Through my research I ran across your name and organization (WNP) and the earthquake cottages. From what I have seen and read, these cottages would make a great case study for my research as well as how the lives of the fire refugees improved and progressed. As you mentioned, as well as from what I have
been able to gather, there were four types/sizes to these cottages; I have only been able to determine the 10x14 model. If you have access to or knowledge of the other models and approximately how many of each type were built that you be great help. I have also been wondering if there are accounts of how many of each type were distributed among the several campsites or if these camps consisted of only one type? The simple construction and local materials used interest me very much as I plan to develop a strategy that involves local construction waste material as well as natural resources in the construction of individual homes for a number of the homeless in the Las Vegas area. Once again thanks for your time. The below link is to my main blog for my thesis, if you would like more info or like to track the progress... the blog is a bit behind my progress, but will be updated shortly as I near another session at the BAC: http://kab-3-thesis.blogspot.com/
On Tue 5/6/2008 7:51 PM, Jane Cryan wrote: Hi Ken, Thank you very much for your email. I visited your blog and was quite impressed. You have undertaken a monumental, very important project! Was the Fact Sheet I sent enough info about the Shacks? In 1999 I gave all my research papers and realia to the History Center at San Francisco's Main Library so I have nothing with me except the Fact Sheet and the books I wrote on disk. I gave copies of the books, which have not been published but have been and continue to be widely quoted, to the History Center. Most SF historians self-publish and I was just not into that. If you thought it would be helpful to you, I could email you a copy of the main book. The Library (sfpl.org I think) has written and placed a summary of my donation on the web. If you Google "1906 Earthquake Refugee Shacks" the library site will pop up and you can view the contents and the librarian's comments about the collection. You may be interested in knowing that in 1988 I was contacted by an architecture student from U.C. Berkeley -- Sergio Amunategui -- who did his Master of Architecture thesis on the subject of the Shacks. He engaged me as his imaginary client and designed a residence for me (using an actual vacant lot in SF) composed of 22 refugee shacks. The name of Sergio's thesis is: Shelter, Dwellings, and Metamorphosis: Adaptations of the 1906 Earthquake Refugee Shelter in A Single Family Dwelling. The thesis is dated May 23, 1989. Sergio is now a famous architect in his native Santiago, Chile. He is Googleable and I believe you can get an email address for him in one of the many blurbs that pop up with his name or his work mentioned. Do let me know if there is anything else I can share with you. Regards, Jane C
On Mon 5/26/2008 2:24 PM, Janz, Wes wrote Ken, Thanks for contacting me. It looks like you're attempting a very interesting project, an important project. I'm happy to make some quick comments, based on a quick review of your boards and a skimming of some of your writing. In this spirit, I might say something not appropriate or off the mark. If so, please, take no offense, and/or understand that this is a quick response. First, and most important, I want to say it is so great that you're engaging in these topics and questions. I get so much inspiration and energy from the great questions and passions of many of my students these days. And I very much want to say THANK YOU for bringing me into your curiosities. It's a real privilege to engage someone so determined to ask some difficult questions of our society, and of himself. I'll make a few critical comments -- don't take these as being personal, please. Rather, you're touching on, or maybe you're not touching on, some ideas and approaches that seem important to me these days. So, in a sense, with your own work I have a chance to be more critical of my own ideas and perspectives. I can appreciate your analysis of Fathy and Newman . . . that's fine, their principles, all that. I guess, as you say, it's both dated and timeless, and I understand this. Still, who else today is thinking about the architectures of squatters or informal settlers or streetpeople? Robert Neuwirth in Shadow Cities. Urban Think Tank in Informal City. The book World Changing. David Adjaye in Making Public Buildings. Marjetica Potrc's Urgent Architecture. The book Portable Architecture. Zero Yen Houses by Kyohei Sakaguchi. Micro Architecture by Kiyoko Semba and Kesaharu Imai. Bryan Bell's Good Deeds, Good Design. Tadashi Kawamata's Dwellings project. The first few chapters of Howard Davis's Culture of Building. Teddy Cruz's work in the Border Zone at Chula Vista/Tijuana. Sidewalk by Duneier. There's quite a bit out there these days, and it's important because it is both timeless and NOW, in that it is looking at our cities and the difficult lives some people live in cities today, their unique qualities and energies and potentials. This is very different than rural Egypt, a World's Fair site in 1967, New York circa 1970. I value history, believe me. Still, in this area, what you call the homeless, or the poor, I think we especially need to be current. Now. Today. There's just no denying this need. And it's interesting to me that your review of Fathy and Newman includes diagrams, plans, sections, etc., this is architecture that you know how to analyze. But nothing of the sort when talking about Dignity Village. Why no site plan? No building plans? No building sections? I understand if you say, well Wes, they don't exist. Still, if you really are trying to understand Dignity Village, you might at least try to create a similar line of analysis -- maybe you create a kind of conditional set of architectural drawings for a few of the buildings, for which there are photographs. I haven't GoogleEarthed Dignity Village; does anything exist? Again, why do Fathy and Newman and Safdie get to have "principles" and the squatters don't? Why no comparable analysis of the cities, neighborhoods, and dwellings of self-builders? I assure you, they too design and build defensible space, they too have local construction knowledge, they too understand the heat of the Sun, they too share urban space and design accordingly. In my work, I'm arguing that we have much to learn from the self-planners and self-builders. A challenge becomes how to see and share such "principles." Plans? Sections? Maybe what a "principle" is needs to be rethought. Or, maybe you figure out how to analyze Dignity Village first and use that methodology or
line of questioning to analyze works by Fathy and Newman. I mean, why do we always always privilege designers even as we talk about the need to create "selfbuilt/self-governed/self-sustained" communities and architectures? Just this week I've started thinking about how almost everything we do is "designer-centered design" even as we talk about populations and people who obviously know what they're doing as they create their own home and neighborhood and community every day. Every day. I'm not saying your wrong, more I'm trying genuinely to understand this phenomena. In a similar way, your site analysis, also, is reliant on such known tools. Wind, sun angles, views, site history, and the like. Again, I understand this, I appreciate these tools. Still, I wonder if your particular project cries out for something else? Again, I don't have the answer for you, can't name a set of drawings for you to do, but I do wonder what else might be considered. "Design for the poor" . . . I don't know about such an approach. I think this use of the word "for" is problematic . . . why not "by" or "with," just for example? Why are we so interested in providing something for someone we think needs our help? We can ask the same question of Habitat for Humanity, or Architecture for Humanity, or the "Design for the other 90%" show at the Cooper Hewitt last summer. Fundamentally, this suggests to me that whatever it is we do is still ours, and not theirs. We'll still wonder, in the future, why what it is we did for them is unappreciated, maybe even unused. And as long as we keep saying "the poor," well, immediately this is a category filled with preconceptions, our own values, and more. "Homeless" too, by its very nature, points out a deficiency in a group or a person. I mean, why do we do this? Why do we create a category for a group of our fellow citizens and give it and them a name that points out what they don't have? How would you like this if it was done to you over and over and over and over. And of course, all "homeless" people do have homes -- they live in shelters, in assisted-living apartments, in a car, under a bridge, etc., etc. I'm not saying this casually . . . these are realities. Again, the point is, they do have "homes." So why do we, why do you, call them "homeless"? Saying it's easy, or everybody does it, or everybody understands what you mean, isn't a good answer. Such a title keeps you from actually understanding who a person is or who people are. These days, I'm referring to an article written by Margaret Crawford about twelve years ago: "Can Architects be Socially Responsible?" in the book Out of Site, as edited by Diane Ghirardo. After a long analysis of the profession and several historical case studies, Crawford says no, architects can not be socially responsible. First, practitioners are too concerned with economics -- deadlines, budgets, marketing, clients, all of that -- what she calls compromised action. Second, professors are too comfortable in the classroom talking about social responsibility, but doing nothing else, what Crawford terms esoteric inaction. However, she makes two suggests: biography and available materials. That is, get to know real, local people in-need. Spend some time with people in a retirement community, a soup kitchen, a residential facility for persons recently released from prison, with illegal immigrants, in a disaster-relief setting. Get to know somebody. And work with what you have at hand, don't wait for some utopian scheme or proposal or material (see Safdie's Habitat, just for example). In this . . . I'd say I very much appreciate your intentions and as it is, you're doing good work. Still, you're keeping the subjects at a distance (too much reliance on old guys in your analysis, too much reliance on conventional tools in your analysis), when really you need to get to know any one or two people. Talk to one guy on five different days. One single mother for two hours. Work at a soup kitchen one day a week for the entire semester. I absolutely absolutely guarantee you, no doubt, that this will change your thinking and your project. And your life. Your project is about real people, right? Living difficult lives, right? Who, I argue, have much more to teach us than we have to offer them. As Crawford says, these are "ideal clients." So . . . tell me about him, her, or them. To put this differently, you're doing a great job. Really, you are. You've analyzed some well known precedents and positions (Fathy and Newman), you're a good writer, you have a very strong skill set when it comes to visual communication, and you've done a very good job with your site analysis. In a sense, no one can argue with any of this -- you're good.
So . . . I say to talented and committed people like yourself . . . we need help as we shift our attention to the billion or so informal settlers and squatters and streetpeople of the world. We architects are so used to designing for the middle and upper classes, so used to designing important buildings, so used to the "we need to educate the clients to appreciate our design" rhetoric of architectural schools and offices, that we need brave, probably young people to show us some new ways, some new lives, some new knowledge, some new approaches. This is you. We need you. Be confident and proud of your abilities and talents. Now . . . set that aside, go out and talk to somebody real, look around to find what you can build with now, and then use your talents, then rekindle your professional responsibility on their behalf, and yours. Yes? Let me know if I can be of further assistance, or if I can clarify any of these thoughts.
Here's two relevant blogs: http://view-sidewalk.blogspot.com/ http://thehomelessguy.blogspot.com/
And thanks again for asking. It's great to know about your work. Keep me posted. Wes. On May 25, 2008 7:55 PM, Kenneth Ballard wrote: Hello Dr. Janz, I will start by introducing myself, my name is Kenneth Ballard, I live in Las Vegas, NV, where I completed my undergraduate studies at the School of Architecture at UNLV. I continue to live in work in Las Vegas, and in January of 2006 I applied at the BAC (Boston Architectural College) as a candidate for a Master’s in Architecture. BAC has introduced a new format for obtaining a Master’s degree in architecture that revolves around a distance education program and I am part of the first 13 person cohort in this program. I am currently working on my thesis at the BAC and am currently preparing to go back to Boston at the end of the week for a schematic review of my thesis progress as to date. My thesis surrounds providing a community of homeless persons in Las Vegas a community that is self-built/self-governed/self-sustained. The research has lead me to developing the idea of creating a community that is defined in vernacular architecture and constructed primarily of construction waste. Las Vegas is very active in the construction industry yet lacks the desire to respond responsibility to the homeless population problem we face. The opportunities to reuse the thousands of tons of building construction and demolition waste seems to be a responsible and alternative way to address Las Vegas’ homeless problems in a non-traditional approach. During my research I have come across your “one small project” website and the work surrounding that research. I have found this to be very helpful and inspiring to my thesis. I would like and appreciate it very much if you could find some time in your very active schedule to look at my blog and possibly respond to the approach that I have taken thus far. The included link will take you to my current blog: http://kab-3-thesis.blogspot.com/ Thank you for the work that you have done, it is greatly appreciated source to those of us that struggle to solve housing needs for those who need it. Ken Ballard
re-introduce or shun away (Posted by Ken Ballard at Friday, November 23, 2007) Poll Question: There is always the debate of whether or nor the homeless want to again be part of main stream society? To many, the homeless are "their own people" and if they had not made their own bad decisions they would not be homeless. The main stream society pays little attention to the homeless except during the holiday seasons. Many donate to the Goodwill, Salvation Army or help out in a soup kitchen, it is societies way to make sure they are taken care of; however during the rest of the year we either shun them or pretend to care by starting groups and organizations or raising money that will dictate their lives, meals, education, decisions. This leads me to the poll... I start to wonder how many people think the majority of homeless want help, if they want help at all, or is it one type of homeless that wants help? Please take a few moments to think this over and vote.
2 comments: rbutera said... 3/1/08 Ken, this is great question to ask of the homeless. I am not sure how to answer the poll though. I think the audience that the poll is directed to is askew. I would think that a survey of the homeless would be more productive (albeit more work to obtain). Or are you simply curious to the non-homeless perception of the homeless? Ken Ballard said... 3/1/08 Hey there Rick... The intent of the poll is to simply and quickly determine how "non-homeless" perceive the homeless, more precisely if "we" believe that the majority of the homeless want to be helped. Thanks for seeing the next steps... I do plan on conducting a survey with homeless and once again later on running this poll again and then using the results in a comparative manor. I feel that I need a control poll that gets "real opinion" (less informed) first and then a more informed opinion. I want a larger sampling, maybe I should hold a caucus to get better results... or I can just extend timeline.
Progressions of Beginning Ideas (Posted by Ken Ballard at Tuesday, January 15, 2008) "I always say that we benefit more from failure than from successes. Failure makes us consider every aspect of a situation, but success has certain hidden dangers which when repeated on a larger scale become a disaster. Only by knowing the mistakes in an idea can you find a solution to it and save it from the beginning”. ~ Hassan Fathy, Abiquiu, 1984 Thoughts as I prepare for the August Intensive (Posted by Ken Ballard at Monday, August 04, 2008) The previous post includes pics I have taken… the video is way too large to upload… but I will have some sort of time lapse video of the build in my presentation. I have not started to break down these pictures in any type of analytical form, but I plan to get to that this weekend. I want to be able to defend the necessity for this build. As I shared with my thesis instructor last week I have had reserve about my chosen process since I have been back from the June intensive. Part of me feels that I have gone off on a sideways tangent yet the larger part of me knows that I had to go through this process, this build to better understand what it is that I am asking of the Las Vegas homeless community to do. If you will, I think that I have found a major part of my methods and inquiries…. I need to know and completely understand what it will take to build my house… what I am and not willing to do for a stable community life and home, what part of this process needs to be aided by persons with experience, what type of community involvement can be expected. How will I (Rethink Village) be able to collect materials, store materials, inventory materials, allot materials for a desired amount of buildings to serve the community? I suspect that in order for me to realize this project there needs to be a clear set agenda for the community, with a time line for benchmarks as well as a set of standards and regulations with consensuses for the residents of Rethink Village in order for the community and Las Vegas officials to get onboard. I will spend some time this week working on these items that I will be able to present during the August Intensive. I realize that prior to the development of Rethink Village getting to the actual construction of the living units and a group of individuals to inhabit them there must be an action plan. Many times these action plans are realized from other agencies, organizations and community groups, however; in order for me to offer up such a progressive method of housing a population of homeless, I must be able to demonstrate how order, social implications, and accountability will be met. Back to the build and my process…. I have been building for several hours now (stretched out over 9 days and counting…). Someone from the last intensive asked how long I expect one of these units would take to construct… my reply was, “I don’t know, but I expect one could complete a unit in a weekend.” It appears that it will take me 30 – 40 hours, but the second, third, fourth and so on would take a weekend each to complete to a point that one could move in. The level of completeness I expect that would allow someone to move in would be: • foundation, • framed walls, • roof, • roof material, • exterior wall siding, • secure entry door, • secure window openings, • some sort of interior wall finish (possible insulation, wall board, drywall, adobe mud, • electrical wiring for the unit (final connection to power would be by licensed electrician when available)
The build and storage of materials started out in my side yard… and as I started to build the truss component and move onto laying out the footprint it soon came clear to me that I needed another spot. My wife and I packed up materials (what we could get in one load) and moved the build site to her Aunt’s house (the property owner of the subject site was not as willing to let us build on the site or even move the living unit there to take pictures once completed… there were warranted concerns about liability and what not). Here we were able to stack and inventory the materials we brought over and continue to inventory materials as we brought then over (the allocated area I had in mind for the storage yard will provide ample room for collected materials and assembled parts, i.e. walls, etc). Tonight I plan to have the roof and some wall sheathing on. The rest of the week I hope to be able to get through the exterior siding, some drywall hung, the electrical outlet installed, coverings for the windows (some small actual windows). This weekend I plan to be working on a series of items that will include: • cost analysis of the materials I was able to collect, have donated, and purchased, • evaluate the method of construction and identify more productive methods/use of materials/shapes, • show value of proper tools (a list of bare essentials and a want/wish list of power tools), • man hours per living unit, • proper ways to accumulate/collect materials and supplies Preparing slides for the August Intensive: I plan to develop a format that explains all the items listed above. To show the level of completeness of these living units I plan to have details, some sort of modeling, and pictures in a format that is reminiscent of a “how to” book. In conjunction to these slides there will pictures and statics of community involvement; availability, process, skill level required/age level appropriate tasks. To better explain certain feasibility aspects of this community, more specifically the construction of the living units, a series of graphs, studies, lists and illustrations that will serve as visual aids to the process and feasibility. What I plan to bring to this coming intensive is a package that analyses and demonstrates how Rethink Village can be implemented and meet the goals of reusing the leftovers/discarded construction waste (construction principles/concepts gathered from Fathy), define defensible spaces (concepts gathered from Newman), and embrace the vernacular style that together will help unite, reconcile and integrate a former homeless population into an active role in Las Vegas.
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