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London architect’s daring plan to end homelessness

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The other day, I came across the inspiring story of James Furzer, a London based architect who put forward an ambitious proposal to tackle the capital – indeed the UK’s – severe homelessness problem.

6500 people sleep rough on the streets of London every year, which is a 77% increase from 2007. On average, homeless people die at just 47 years old. They live in conditions beyond our worst nightmares, and are regularly subject to abuse and attacks. With the uncontrollably increasing housing prices, this problem’s unlikely to reverse any time soon.

Inspiring why? Obviously, the cause is a worthy one and the implementation of this plan would help a lot of those in most desperate need. Inspiring also, because it’s great to see truly highly talented people put their skills to the benefit of the greater good.

The proposal is to create modular parasitic sleeping pods that can be attached to the side of any host building or structure, allowing a safe haven for the homeless during a nights rest, sheltered from the harsh and unpredictable weather conditions of Britain. The system can sit as individual shelters or as a community of pods. See picture below:

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The pods would provide temporary shelter for the homeless and could be managed and maintained by local charities. They would be installed above pavements as to clear the way for pedestrians. Access would be provided by way of ladders.

The pods are designed to be made on a budget with the material applications being of a variable nature. This will not only allow costs to be kept to a minimum, but will also allow a material selection with a colour palette similar to that of the intended host building. In other words, it will allow the parasitic pod to blend in with its surroundings. The simple internal material selection will provide a warm, dry, and comfortable environment to stay in.

James, we need more people like you. Keep up the good work.

You can follow James on Twitter at @james_furzer, and support his fundraising here.


  1. Such a brilliant idea. I live in Cardiff and like many cities there are lots of homeless people. Some are fortunate enough to get a bed in a hostel for the night, but many more end up sleeping rough. I think some people forget that homeless people are people too. All too often we walk past them without a thought, but if we stopped and took a moment to realise that they’re somebody’s daughter or son, or mother or father, or sister or brother it kind of puts a difference perspective on. Very interesting read and I agree there should be more people like James about!

    • Valentin Valentin

      You’re totally right, it’s such a regular thing to see homeless people on the street now we don’t often stop and think. It’ll be interesting to see if this project goes ahead!

  2. This is fantastic. It’s great to see compassionate people thinking up innovative ways to tackle the problem. In Bristol, there are some fantastic charities that do amazing work, but homeless people have become too much a part of our infrastructure. It shouldn’t be a part of every day life. We need more ideas to help solve the problem once and for all.

  3. Hi, just wanted to tell you, I enjoyed this post. It was inspiring.Keep on posting!

  4. Mike Mike

    I think we just need to revise the law on renting. Due to tenants having an unreasonable number of rights, landlords are uneasy about renting without guarantors or large upfront payments, plus usually large deposits too.

    I think the trick to tackling homelessness is to look at the red tape there, and also ensure that people are educated on the degree of accommodation cost variation between areas across the country (London is many times more expensive).

    Pods… I dunno maybe, but I think the problem is primarily legal and not physical.

    • Valentin Valentin

      I completely agree with you, the housing issue is a problem at all levels not just for the very poor. For instance, it’s now the norm for people earning very good money to have to share houses with 4,5 or 6 others. That’s not right. As far as homelessness, I think having places where people can regularly take shelter (pods are just one idea) is an appealing proposal. But yeah, I’m sure there would be plenty of legal considerations.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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