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San Fran's Tiny Homeless
San Francisco has started building tiny houses for the homeless:
One week ago, Ryan Bauer was living in a tent on the hard pavement on Gough Street south of Market. Now he’s living on the same pavement with a dramatic upgrade: He’s moved into his own tiny home, with a mattress, desk, chair and — most luxurious of all — a heater that quickly warms his 64-square-foot abode. That’s almost as crucial as a front door that locks from the inside and by a combination lock on the outside.
“It’s definitely a lot warmer, and I don’t have to worry about my stuff being taken,” said Bauer, 45, who is known on the street as “Nobody.” “I haven’t had a locked area where I could leave my stuff and not have it stolen for who knows how long.”
Bauer has been homeless for 30 years, since he left Illinois at age 17. He’s one of 30 men and women to be promoted from a tent city on the city-leased lot into the tiny structures where they can live for at least a year. Eventually the site will hold 70 units in modular duplexes.
In his stark 2002 novella Manna, Marshall Brain described terrafoam dorm buildings that gave each person just about the same square footage, but in the maximally efficient shape:
Because no one had a window, they could really pack people into these buildings. Each terrafoam dorm building had a four-acre foot print. It was a perfect 417 foot by 417 foot by 417 foot solid brown cube. Each cube originally held exactly 76,800 people. Doubling this to 153,600 people in each building was unthinkable, but they were doing it anyway. On the other hand, you had to marvel at the efficiency. At that density, they could house every welfare recipient in the entire country in less than 1,500 of these buildings. By spacing the buildings 100 feet apart, they could house 200,000,000 people in a space of less than 20 square miles if they had wanted to. At that density, they could put everyone in the country without a job into a space less than five miles square in size, put a fence around it and forget about us...
They clustered the buildings on trash land well away from urban centers so no one had to look at them. It was a lot like an old-style college dorm. Each person got a 5 foot by 10 foot room with a bed and a TV — the world’s best pacifier...
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