January 28, 2008

Fxing Up a Place

"Bandaids no Solution to Low Income Housing" is the headline on a small story from the inside pages of a newspaper I remember from some time ago. I've never been able to guess, then or since, who ever imagined they would be a solution. In the first place you'd require an impractical number of them to make even the most rudimentary dwelling, in the second place unless they were stiffened in some way, they'd be far too flimsy--a moderate breezze would tear holes in the fabric of the walls. And why go to all the trouble of stiffening and reinforcing band aids, and making them a much larger size so they'd be usable for building, when sturdier materials are readily available? (How would you ever install electricity? and plumbing? one ill timed flush and a three bedroom unit could come down like an overpadded, majorly sticky house of cards.)

I can understand if it was a government sponsored feasibility study. The more impractical an idea, the better suited to study by dedicated committee, and the number of tests you'd need to run, simply to show willing, would be minimal. After that, gravy--collating the opinions, majority and dissenting, of experts analysing test data minutely. One or two grant extensions to handle cost overruns, and all concerned can bank a tidy sum. Apply that to your mortgage et voila! housing solution.

Amazing there was no study commissioned of bandaids for housing by FEMA, in the wake of its advance scouts Katrina and Rita. (Then again considering the number of black holes down which money swirled in course of that rescue effort cum Fortune 500 feeding trough, perhaps they did. And there's this to be said for a house made of bandaids--a mid-sized wolf could blow it right down, but it wouldn't stand day after day delivering toxic fumes to the lungs, skin tissue and other vital organs, as FEMA's trailers do to the people living in 'em--if nobody's taken to calling them gas chamber specials, it's past time somebody did.)

I ought to get in on this myself, if someone can point me the right direction to apply for funding. I'm thinking maybe. . . for condo highrises. . . surgical gauze? Practical? who knows? but picture it: you have to admit there's a certain poetry. . .

C 2007 Martin Heavisides

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