Haiti and Hurricane Katrina inspire revolutionary new disaster shelters | Housing Network |

Reaction Housing, a Texas-based startup, thinks it has an answer. Inspired by the Styrofoam coffee cup, the Exo is low-cost, portable and easy to assemble. The company’s founder, Michael McDaniel, came up with the idea after becoming frustrated with the slow humanitarian response following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“There are simply no purpose-built products from the ground up that meet the specific needs of disaster responses,” says McDaniel, citing the pitfalls of using travel trailers and modified shipping containers. “Companies that design and manufacture trailers are not particularly concerned with the environmental or health aspects of dwellings. The same goes for prefabricated buildings. These are stick-built constructions done as cheaply as possible to achieve margins.”

Looking like a mini aircraft hangar, the Exo consists of two parts: a base and a dome. There are digital door locks, skylights, access to electricity, air conditioning and heating and access to water and sewer services; bathrooms and kitchens can be fitted too. The Exo’s features may not be groundbreaking, but they address issues of decent living – such as sanitation and safety – that tents and trailers often don’t. via |


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