Hope Floats is a collaborative design group working to develop innovative sustainable housing alternatives for geographic locations sensitive to climate change. As a result of both increased population growth and economic globalization, urban centers are dramatically expanding. Today cities are growing at a rate that has never been seen before in human history. This has created a substantial need for new, affordable urban housing. All to often, marginalized populations occupy land that is the most likely to suffer the negative effects of climate change. This includes settlements in low elevation coastal areas that are at risk of sea level rise, or river bed deltas that are subject to extreme seasonal flooding.
“About one person in ten lives in the Low Elevation Coastal Zone (LECZ), defined as less than 10 meters (33 feet) elevation. Thirteen percent of the world’s urban population, or 360 million people, live in the LECZ. For Asia and Africa these percentages are higher, at 18 percent and 15 percent respectively.” - International Housing Coalition Report 2011
“It is estimated that 23 percent of the world’s population lives within 60 miles of the coast and at less than 35 feet of elevation. Overall population densities in coastal regions are about three times higher than the global population density. Some 60 percent of the world’s 39 metropolitan areas with more than five million people are located within 60 miles of the coast, including 12 of the world’s 16 largest cities.” - International Housing Coalition Report 2011
Regarding mechanical systems - these floating housing units have the ability to operate off the grid, or free from public utilities. Power will be generated through the use of roof-mounted solar panels. Solar power will provide for daily household appliances and the HVAC systems. Heat and AC will be provided from high efficiency, wall mounted, split system electric units, such as those manufactured by Mitsubishi. Gray water will be collected through a system of roof drains, rain gardens and cisterns. Toilets for these units will be self composting electric units. The Hope Floats structures will operate as off-grid, self contained sustainable housing units.
Hope Floats has developed a unique design program that uses discarded shipping containers in order to create new, residential housing units. What makes our proposal distinct is the way that our containers have the ability to react to climate conditions. They literally rise with the tide. Our Hope Float housing units will be constructed and fastened to a floating dock system. During the dry season the housing units, or rafts will sit on the ground at grade. In the event climate conditions change, for example during the rainy season, the raft structures will float and rise up the pre-fixed piers. Hope Floats units are adaptable architectural structures that can exist in a variety of geographic conditions.