All too often people are displaced by poverty, war, and natural disasters. Most of the time, those people end up taking refuge in canvas tents that aren’t designed for long term use. The Ikea Foundation recently unveiled a new flat-pack shelter that has a modular design and solar panel to help improve living conditions for people who are in need of emergency shelter.
The shelter was part of a two year project being conducted in collaboration with the Swedish Housing Unit and the UN Refugee Agency. The prototype flat-pack shelter created by Ikea is modular and easy to transport and assemble. The whole shelter comes flat-packed, allowing for easier and cheaper transportation. The portable shelter is made of a metal frame with stiffening wires to support walls and roofs made of lightweight plastic panels. Unlike other emergency shelters, Ikea’s has an aluminized shade that reflects heat to regulate the inside temperature. The aluminized shade helps keep the shelter cooler during the day and warmer at night. The shelter also has a solar panel that powers a built-in light and USB port.
Ikea says that the portable building takes only four hours to construct and will last three years. The shelter will provide better security and ventilation than other relief shelters available. The shelter will be tested on Somali refugees and their feedback will be used to improve on the design. Currently it costs $10,000 to make one of the prototype shelters, but Ikea hopes they can reduce the price to under $1,000 when mass produced.