Friday, March 27, 2015

United Nations orders 10,000 IKEA Flatpack Refugee Shelters

Gizmodo reports: [edited]

A few years ago, Ikea announced it had designed a better refugee shelter, using its flatpack furniture as a basis for engineering. Working with UN, the Foundation spent years prototyping shelters that could replace the fragile tents that are usually used to house refugees.

The UN's High Commissioner for Refugees has placed an order for 10,000 units of Better Shelter, which it will use to house refugees around the world. The units were tested by displaced families in Iraq and Ethiopia, and according to Irin News, the first of the UN's 10,000 units will be sent to house some of the 2.5 million people in Iraq who have been displaced over the past year.

Better Shelter arrives in two cardboard boxes with all the tools needed to assemble it. Each box can be lifted by four people, and assembled by the same team in no more than eight hours. The package contains an image-based user manual.

Inside, there are details that make these shelters livable for long periods of time: A lockable door. Windows and ventilation. A photovoltaic system to supply electricity. They're built to last as long as three years, which is another major step forward —s ince refugee housing tends to wear out before the displaced have permanent housing.

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