Urban Artist Creates Cheap Inflatable, Heated Shelters for the Homeless

Artist and former MIT student Michael Rakowitz has figured out a cheap and efficient way to keep members of the urban homeless community warm during the winter. His custom designed “paraSITE” shelters use cheap clear plastic or Ziploc bags (they only require about $5 worth of supplies) to connect to buildings’ HVAC vents, which keep them inflated and heated. Each one (he’s made about 60 over the course of the last 17 years) is individually design for the needs of a homeless community member in a major city. Because New York has strict laws about sleeping bags or tents being under 18 inches (to prevent camping), the paraSITE he made for a man there was in prefect compliance with the strict regulations …

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