Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ger, Yurt, Housing for Homeless

Photo is of the scarf I dyed yesterday, now being worn. Funny how the effect changes, softens somehow. Really like the effects of the color flow on this scarf. Am hoping to get some more done in the next few days.

I've been clearing some land that we own. Doing only a couple of hours of work each day usually in the early morning hours and using only loppers to get the underbrush cleared. It's about 7 acres that we have but I am doing very specific spot work on it for the time being. The land is on the High Banks of the Kalamazoo River and the vista from the land is calm and peaceful. I frequently see deer, geese, turkey, and coyote while I am clearing. I often tell my husband that I could easily live there and would love to put up a summertime yurt. So, as I am working I imagine what that yurt would look like, the feel of it, the smell of it, I wonder what thunder would sound like all muffled through the wool,...then I thought about the homeless, winters here in Michigan, the bitter, biting cold of the north wind during winter and my mind began to wander and wonder about the simple comfort of the yurt, the inexpensive housing of the yurt, the soft strength of a home of wool, the strength of the round shape ger in severe winds, the beautiful quiet that happens inside a ger or yurt.

I'm hearing from family and friends that tent villages are springing up all over the states, and not from people who choose to be homeless, but simply have nowhere to go. I realize that it could happen to anyone at anytime. Is the simple, lovely yurt a potential answer to our housing crisis? It's totally portable, easy up and down in a day, protection from the elements, and all things considered, very inexpensive housing. Now I realize that plumbing and electricity are issues, but I have to believe that a yurt or ger would be so much better than under a bridge, in a dumpster, park bench. I often wonder if the creative, artistic people of our world should not be more active in the problem solving aspects of the issues the world faces today. Creative folks already think out of the box, or as I often say "what box?" I'm going to keep thinking on this while I work in the woods.


Unknown said...

I totally agree with your comments about yurt housing... I'm living in Canada and still up here it would be an affordable alternative.

Anonymous said...

What about heating and cooking? In Ulaanbaatar (UB), the air quality (in the winter) is roughly 10x worse than acceptable levels. This is because in a ger, wood or coal stoves are mostly used. I imagine that wood would be the most widely available and cheapest fuel available for the homeless of the US. Also, respiratory illness is another huge problem for those in UB because of the wood/coal burning. Gers are horribly inefficient when it comes to retaining heat. There are days when the pollution is so bad, that visibility is challenged at 100 yards. This solution to homelessness is very creative, but it has some practical issues to be considered. If a more efficient insulation method could be found, then it may be a more suitable solution.

Felt is a great material, however, it seems like a layer of air between two layers would do wonders for heat retention. I'm wondering if there is a flexible inexpensive cellular material that could go between two layers of felt that could be easily installed in the gers of UB. I wonder if that would create an "air pocket" like in a vaccum window, that would help heat stay in.