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These Inflatable Homeless Shelters Harness Air Vent Exhaust


Michael Rakowitz's deceptively cute inflatables structures, called paraSITE, are actually guerrilla shelters that symbiotically latch onto vents from HVAC systems. The captured air not only gives structure to the shelters, but also provides much-needed heat to those living within. Rakowitz has been making these ad-hoc homes for the past 17 years already, customizing designs for the urban nomads he meets in myriad cities.

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  • DonieceS

    Very cool. I wonder how he's funding this because he's got a customer-base that can't afford to pay.

    • Alessandra Rizzotti

      Great point, DonieceS. They are $5, but I do think it doesn't necessarily solve the problem, especially bec they require a heater/vent to inflate. Also- I doubt apt buildings would want people to use the heater vents. How do you think these could be used, Doniece?

      • DonieceS

        Good question re how to use them as, I agree, most building owners would likely not welcome this opportunity. That said, I wonder how feasible a small, portable pump might be - battery, solar or human powered.

        • Jelena Woehr

          I bet that if the community supports businesses who allow these during extreme cold, then at least during weather like the polar vortexes this year businesses would accommodate them. The remainder of the Occupy movement has been pretty active in fighting outdoor camping bans (aka "illegal to be homeless" laws) and would probably advocate for supporting businesses that use their waste heat/air to shelter the homeless community.