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Written by: Kenneth A.

Ballard

Edited by: Kellie P. Ballard


Rethinking Homeless Living…
Architecture that creates home, hope, and humanity.
Rethinking Homeless Living…

Architecture that creates home, hope, and humanity.

Masters Candidate: Kenneth A. Ballard
Thesis Instructor: Ian F. Taberner, AIA 
Masters of Architecture 
January 2009 
 
 
Thesis Candidate: Kenneth A. Ballard 
 
Thesis Instructor: Ian F. Taberner, AIA 
Table of Contents

Executive Summary ..................................................................................................... 1


Synopsis 1
Thesis Abstract 1
Thesis Statement 2
Terms of Criticism 2
Program Narrative........................................................................................................ 5
Project Description ...................................................................................................... 7
Current Accommodations 7
Direction 9
Residents 9
Project Site 13
Case Studies & Research ........................................................................................... 22
Rich Architecture for the Poor-Hassan Fathy 23
Habitat ’67 – 1967 – Moshe Safdie 27
Interpreting Defensible Spaces 28
Dignity Village – 2001-present 32
Architectural Solutions .............................................................................................. 37
Site Plan and Program 37
Reusing the Site 42
Collection Process – Keys to Success 46
Community Involvement 49
Design + Build 52
Foundation 53
Framing 57
Framing 57
Roofing 61
Skins 65
Level of Completion 66
Conclusions ................................................................................................................ 72
Community Involvement 72
The Process 73
Influencing the future 73
Appendix ............................................................................................................... 76
Rethink Village Applications 76
Rethink Village Bylaws 80
Distance Studio Work 90
Proposal 90
Intensive One Review – Comments and Responses 93
Intensive Two Review – Comments and Responses 94
Intensive Three Review – Comments and Responses 101
Various Texts 108
Emails 108
Blog Posts 113
Resume 116
Bibliography 117

Foreword

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Acknowledgements
I would like to first thank my wife, Kellie Ballard. Thank you for doing your research, finding the
BAC, and encouraging me to apply to this program. You have been a steady support throughout
my time at the BAC and were always willing to help me when I had computer issues or needed to
drain out the spilt coffee from the laptop days before the end of a semester… and spending your
nights and weekends working on the living unit with me.
I love you.

To my mother and siblings, thank you. The love and support from you after dad passed was
tremendous, he wanted so badly to see me finish up with school and succeed. I’m proud that I can
say, “I did it.”

To my many in-laws that helped: thank you for your yard, help, support, and gallons of refreshing
iced-tea. Your help made the build and cleanup process much easier and faster.

To my boss who provided me with ample time away from the office (and at) to work on my
projects and thesis. Thank you. I can start working 50+ hour weeks again… right after a long
vacation.

To my classmates at the BAC, I would like to offer an ‘absolute’ thank you. The diverse
backgrounds, design approaches and personalities offered a refreshing and unique aspect to my
Master’s work at the BAC.

To all of my instructors at the BAC, thank you! I felt that I was able to learn how to learn again.
The constant testing and re-testing of ideas and processes made me more aware of how I approach
architecture and how I interact with the built environment. A special thank you to Ian Taberner for
allowing me to take a step towards the unknown and guiding me in a process that lead to great
findings about myself and my potential impact on the architectural community.

And finally to the BAC, thank you for developing the Distance Practicing Professionals Distance
Master’s of Architecture program. This program has provided myself, and many more to come, the
opportunity to realize our dreams… to become a better architect.

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Executive Summary
Synopsis

I propose that there is a better way to design. I am not talking about which may be a better tool to use. I am not supporting
computer versus drafting table, Post Modern versus Art & Crafts. I am asking, “Is there a better way to design efficiently,
appropriately, economically, passionately and responsibly?” I know that there are untapped tools available today that architects
have either forgotten about or have neglected to use. A resurgence of these tools that an architect should use on a daily basis
along with a commitment to slowing down and knowing the user, personal restrictions, and lifestyles will lead to better and
more meaningful architecture.

What better a group than that of the homeless to test these questions? Homeless communities are present in nearly every city
across the nation and can affect every walk of life. Is there a desirability of the undesirable? Is there a need/desire among the
homeless to be re-introduced back into society? In Portland, Oregon, there is a community of non-homeless homeless people
where they are welcomed into a group and begin to become part of a community where feelings are mended and behavioral
aspects are addressed. This particular community is self sustained and has developed a way to be re-introduced back into
mainstream society. Is there a need, desire (from both sides of the line), and/or responsibility for this kind of community in my
community, Las Vegas? Can this type of community be sustained in Las Vegas where there are different resources (farming,
arts and crafts, etc.) than that in the Portland community? Will the Las Vegas homeless community accept this type of ‘home-
grown’ society that can enable a mainstream life style?
Some areas of exploration include:

Housing types Community Involvement Funding (public/private)


Location Ownership  
Leadership Community goals
 
Thesis Abstract

The highest concentration of the Las Vegas homeless community is in the downtown district. The Mayor and city council
have made a clear and focused effort to not only revitalize downtown to attract tourists and new businesses, but to eliminate a
large number of its citizens. Within a four-mile radius of the core of downtown are 5 shelters. These shelters set out to provide
basic needs: shelter for the night, a hot dinner, and assistance to contact other social services. This type of “assisting” the
homeless in Las Vegas follows the same format as most of the nation and our homeless community is “housed” in the same
manner: a big box with multiple persons a large room with little or no personal space. Simply to offer an overcrowded,
underfunded, single night stay facility is not an ultimate, permanent solution to providing housing for the homeless

 
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community. A successful homeless community within the Portland, Oregon area has provided an ownership-based model that
is self-owned, self-built, self-sustaining, and self-governed, and relies upon its citizens for the means and methods of
continued growth. This ownership-based model does not look at the number of people served in a day, week, month, but the
number of people that have been re-integrated back into the mainstream community.

Thesis Statement

In the city of Las Vegas, there are an estimated 14,500 people within the homeless population. Nevada is the second-fastest
growing state in the nation. The promise of steady work to sustain the casino industry and the booming construction industry
has enticed thousands of new residents each month for the past several decades. Although Las Vegas is proud of its generally
low unemployment rates, lack of state income tax, and inexpensive bountiful food buffets, there is an alarming amount of
homelessness. The 14,500 homeless in Las Vegas equate to nearly all of the 0.68% of Nevadans who are homeless; ranking the
highest in the US and more than double the national average (Curtis 2007).
Statistics support that, although the Las Vegas homeless population percentage is more than double the national average, the
homeless of Las Vegas have suffered from the very same economical hard times, slowing of the housing market, and
diminishing availability of low-rent housing. A recent survey indicated that 16 percent of the homeless population are
employed, 25 percent are veterans, 31 percent are disabled, 33 percent have made Las Vegas their home for over a decade, and
at least 73 percent have, at a minimum, a high school education (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 2006).

I will evaluate how and why a self-built, self-owned homeless community can better serve the downtown Las Vegas homeless
community and lessen the financial impact to the city as well as influence the stigma surrounding the homeless community.

Terms of Criticism

Can a site in or near the downtown Las Vegas area be identified and realistically sustain a community of homeless persons that
Las Vegas could support?

Does the site have other attributes other than ample room and favorable zoning adjacencies, such as historical value, access to
infrastructure, and proximity to social services?

Is it feasible for homeless persons to construct their own homes (living units) with limited knowledge/assistance from the
community (contractors, community groups, etc) that will be acceptable to the building department?

 
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Can homeless individuals obtain access to re-useable construction waste materials and/or donated items and then store them in
a safe and secure location until use?

What about this self-built, self-regulated community will draw the Las Vegas community in to be more involved and
participate on a regular basis?

Did I provide acceptable solutions that address the goals set forth by the City of Las Vegas?

Methods of Inquiry

I will define what is favorable to a site that would be selected to sustain a self-built, self-regulated community of homeless
persons and what are acceptable adjacencies for both the community at large as well as the homeless community.

I will propose a means, method, and structure for providing an alternative solution to constructing permanent housing for
homeless persons willing to participate and grow as individuals while seeking to improve themselves and learn a skill that
could become a source of income.

I will demonstrate that the proposed means, method, and structure is feasible and achievable by collecting materials, designing
(with available materials in mind), and constructing a dwelling that would be found in a community like Rethink Village.

I will propose realistic activities and functions that could occur at Rethink Village that will promote active and regular
participation between Rethink Village and the Las Vegas community.

 
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Program Narrative
There are small voices of kids and the yelps of puppies playing near the water pump as I pass by Mrs. Lapton’s
place on my way to the resource center. I can see her through her window reading a book. She looks much better this
week. The bed Roger brought up to her from the recently closed hotel on Bridger and Fourth has really made a
difference. She seems to be enjoying her golden years more comfortably. Tim rushes past me to the shower room
along the South end of the community. I guess he is extra eager to get cleaned up for the interview that he and Mike
set up at the resource building the other day. The kids are now helping Rosa in the garden area, gathering mulch
from the composting pit to lay down in a tomato and cucumber garden. As I come up to the resource center I can see
that James is sitting at the computer checking his email to see how well the interview at the casino’s engineering
department went. Just as I walk through the door, I see the largest smile consume his weathered and tanned face. “I
got the job! I got the job!” he yells out. All the people within an ear shot come to hear the good news. As the gang
surrounds James and offers their congratulations, there is a brief moment when I look into the future and imagine life
here without him. James has always been so encouraging to me and the other new residents. It will be odd, in a way,
without him around for encouragement and support. It will only be few more months before I know that he will be
able to afford an apartment and will move out. As I sit to start checking my email, James turns to me and offers to put
a good word in for me at the casino. As I thank him for thinking of me, I start to imagine how that if we can both have
jobs at the same place we could remain best friends, but I know that I have my own interview at the plant nursery on
Charleston on Friday and I really think this will work out. Besides, Ryan mentioned that one of my old guys works
there too and that he would put in a good word for his old boss. I finish checking my email and check with Alan to see
if the snail-mail came, Alan says that Bob has not come yet so I head back to my place to lay out my clothes for
Friday.

I stop by Mrs. Lapton’s place again, this time to sit and visit with her for a while, like I always do on
Wednesdays. She offers me some crackers and some bottled water that James had brought by earlier.

 
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Project Description
The current population of the Las Vegas homeless would rather
spend the night curb-side in front of the Salvation Army than risk all of
their worldly possessions by trying to secure a bed inside a shelter. Some
Las Vegas parks have been indefinitely closed to prevent homeless persons
from gathering, using the restroom facilities, and interacting and having
meals provided by faith based, non-profit, and community groups.
While parks and gathering places are being stripped away in the
name of public safety, the City of Las Vegas - Neighborhood Services 1 An unidentified man panhandles on Fremont Street. 
Department 10-Year Planning Committee has detailed a plan to reduce Photo by Joel John Roberts 
homelessness entitled, “Homes for Homeless Nevadans.” (Las Vegas,
Nevada 2006).
A successful Rethink Village will directly address 6 of the 11 goals
of the Home for Homeless Nevadans plan and will have an indirect effect
on the success of the other goals by allowing the Salvation Army and
similar organizations to focus on aspects of mental health treatments,
bettering their client services and enhancing the coordination between
these organizations.
Current Accommodations
2 Homeless men, among an estimated 14,500 in Southern 
Nevada, look for day labor jobs Wednesday on Bonanza 
The downtown area of Las Vegas has the largest concentration of
Road near the Interstate 15 overpass.  
homeless persons. Although the city, as-well as faith based and community Photo by K.M. Cannon 
groups, have concentrated their efforts in the area to provide programs,
shelters, and medical clinics. Despite these efforts, there are many
homeless persons that either refuse to use traditional shelters, are too proud
to ask for outside help, or just don’t want to abandon their possessions for
the night. Just a few blocks away from the heart of downtown (the Fremont
Street Experience), there are a gathering of these shelters.

3 Homeless people at a camp on the bank of the Flamingo 
Wash near Cambridge Street. Photo by John Gurzinski 
 
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Homes for Homeless Nevadans

1. Promote Interagency Coordination of Human Service Delivery Programs


2. Increase the Availability of Stable and Sustainable Housing
3. Enhance Coordination between Non-Profit Organizations and Government
4. Prevent Individual and Families from Becoming Homeless
5. Provide Seamless Client Services through Effective Partnerships
6. Foster Self-Sufficiency through access to Education, Training and Employment Opportunities
7. Facilitate the Transition from Homelessness through Intensive Case Management
8. Increase Access to Medical, Dental and Vision Services
9. Ensure the Availability of Basic Needs
10. Improve Availability of Mental Health Services
11. Improve Availability of Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

A successful Rethink Village will directly address 6 of the 11 goals of the Home for Homeless Nevadans plan (indicated in boldface). 

 
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Shade Tree, Salvation Army, St. Vincent, and the Catholic
Charities of Southern Nevada are all located in the downtown vicinity of
N. Main Street and W. Owens Avenue. These four shelters offer less than
500 beds, less than 150 for single night stays and only 320 for extended
stays. The Salvation Army also offers a secondary program that
incorporates a 42-bed group home. St. Vincent and the Catholic Charities
of Southern Nevada joined to provide a program offering 125 fully
furnished apartments requiring background checks and $335.25 a month
for longer stays. Yet hundreds of homeless persons sleep on the sidewalks
in front of these facilities and thousands more find shelter in storm water
culverts, railroad embankments, undeveloped desert, and boarded-up
buildings.
Direction
3  An unidentified man sleeps Monday in front of the Frank 
Wright Plaza sign in downtown Las Vegas. Photo by Craig L. 
The abundant need for secure, dependable, independent, and Moran 
permanent housing is clear. I propose a solution that creates a stronger
sense of belonging, ownership, self-growth, community involvement, and
sustainability while working with the homeless population to rethink
solutions and resolve some of the problems they face on a day-to-day basis.
Rethink Village can address the issues the city has outlined in their 10-year
plan in ways that have not been attempted.
Residents

Rethink Village is anticipated to offer an alternative to those seeking


a permanent, stable, and intimate surrounding where homeless persons can
develop labor and social skills preparing them to be re-introduced back into
the mainstream Las Vegas community. While I understand not all
homeless persons will want to participate in this type of community, it has
potential to offer a renewed sense of community and self-pride and to tear
down the walls of stereotypes the main stream Las Vegas community may
harbor towards the homeless.
I spent several hours speaking to a man named Dennis. He had
moved to Las Vegas from North Dakota where he was a construction site
superintendent, and found employment in Las Vegas doing the same. I
4 View looking into Dennis’ house
 
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asked, timidly, what had changed, what happened that caused him and his
wife to become homeless. Without any hesitation he told me his story.
Dennis had his past catch up with him. Debt, bad decisions, and other
normal situations that many experience and conquer had turned abruptly
upside down, leaving him and his wife on the streets and homeless.
Dennis and I sat for a couple of hours on a concrete barrier near his
make-shift house. We talked about many subjects: the abundance of
construction in Las Vegas, his desire to find work again, how hard it was to
convince someone to give him a shot at swinging a hammer again despite
not having a home address, how sometimes he feels that if there was a
support group of individuals like himself together they could improve their 5 View looking North West towards Dennis' house
housing and employment status.
The more we spoke, the more comfortable we both became. I have
had experiences before in soup kitchens, in a park, on the streets and
highway exits with the homeless but never before had I put myself in such
a vulnerable situation in which I engaged him. I think that this was Dennis’
first experience with someone, in this manner, trying to get to know him
with no obligations or pre-determined outcomes. There was mutual respect,
he never at any one time asked anything from me, other than my name and
number if he ever wanted to call.
We talked about this project and where it could go, how it could
impact the lives of the homeless as well as those who would be willing to
step out and help with the construction of individual homes and the success
of Rethink Village.
I was never able to follow up with him about my progress, direction,
and goals. Dennis and his wife and their self-made home1 had been cleared
6 View looking West at Dennis' house
out one night and the space where his four walls once stood now is an
empty lot, abandoned and blank.

                                                           
1
 The images to the right are photos of what Dennis had constructed. The principles of a self-built community appear at a rough and crude stage but intentions are
along the same line. Rethink village would encourage a more presentable image (a proper storage yard would resolve much of the clutter). 
 
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Project Site

Location
Latitude - 36° 11′ 39″ N

Longitude - 115° 13′ 19″ W

History
For many years this site and the adjacent site were home to over 100
residents until 2005 when the properties were bought out and re-zoned from
R-3 (Medium density residential) to C-2 (Commercial). In February of
2008, the soft C-2 zoning expired had has been restored to R-3 zoning (Clark
County Assessor 2004). Although the site at the Northwest corner of Main
Street and Washington was abruptly abandoned and is currently vacant, the
surrounding areas are rich with history and are still a significant part of Las
Vegas.
The railway that establishes the West property line also helped
establish Las Vegas back in 1905. When William A. Clark, a one-term U.S.
Senator from Montana; bought 2,000 acres of ranch land in 1900 there were
only about 30 residents in the Las Vegas area. William built and owned the
railway that connected Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, cutting the travel
time in half, until 1921 when he sold the railway to Union Pacific. Union
Pacific still operates this railway.
As one of the original settlers of the Las Vegas area, Helen J. Stewart,
who had sold land to William A. Clark; deeded 10 acres in downtown Las
Vegas to the Paiute Indian Tribe in 1911, establishing the Las Vegas Paiute
Colony. The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 has made the adjacent
property to the North a Sovereign Nation. These 10 acres are the original
tribal lands in the Las Vegas area that now comprise over 3,800 acres.
7 Image courtesy of 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Vegas,_Nevada
 
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Beyond the 10 acres of the downtown Paiute Tribal land are
centers and shelters that serve battered women. A handful of homeless
people are fortunate enough to find exhaustible accommodations at
shelters like the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army has been part
of the Las Vegas community since 1945 and currently provides
emergency shelter for approximately 156 persons while maintaining a
42-bed group home. Also within walking distance, the Shade Tree, St.
Vincent’s HELP Apartments, and an employment office can be found.
Other significant areas sit to the West and East of the site.
Berkley Square (Westside Park), a post-WWII, 156 unit, sub-division
designed by a “famed” African American architect Paul R. Williams,
@ 20,625 feet
known for designing homes of movie stars including Frank Sinatra’s
and the LA Courthouse, remains. A minor league baseball team has
called Cashman Center home for over 25 years where when once part
of the Las Vegas Ranch (1881) fruits and vegetables were bountiful
and the “Old Mormon Fort” is a walk through history. It stands where
the first Mormon settlers took refuge back in 1855. The fort eventually
became a resort and was later used as a testing laboratory for the
Bureau of Reclamation while the Hoover Dam was being constructed.
It was registered as a National Historic Place in February of 1972
(Mooney 2006). @ 4125 feet

The opportunity to work on a site that is surrounded by such rich


history affirms the magnitude of potential effects for a self-built
community for the homeless population. The close proximity to
existing shelter facilities provides relevance to the use, and it benefits
from being centrally located in the Las Vegas valley and in the heart of
small unorganized homeless camp sites. These sporadic sites
continually run a risk of disbandment from the city and local businesses
trying to keep these makeshift fabric tents off their sidewalks and
maintain curb appeal for their customers. The site selected offers many
@ 825 feet
amenities that raw land simply cannot: access to water, sewer, and 8 Images courtesy of Google Earth
electricity is existing infrastructure capable of supporting a homeless
village. This site enjoys nearly unbounded edges with historical
context.

 
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The site is 3.82 acres in area, and has a current land-use
designation of R-3. The site is situated such that much of the
existing infrastructure can be used with little repair or
alterations, keeping in spirit of vernacular architecture,
providing an opportunity for architecture for the poor, and
providing a comfortable living space for the residents of
Rethink Village. The existing vehicular access offers access
to the site for community and support services without
intruding too deeply into the village. This offers the residents
comfort and privacy while providing an opportunity for on-
site clinic, retail/exchange market, and donations center easily 11 Cable vault  10 Electrical vault
located near the corner. This activity shall serve as a buffer to
the inner and more private activities. A proposed garden area at the
South end of the site is conveniently close to the corner with hopes of a
farmers market in the future. Across from the garden are would be the
village heart, where social events can take place. Resources could include
a bathing house, mail room, library, and centralized kitchen. The storage
yard will reside to the North of the village heart, where donated and
gathered supplies can be safely and securely stored until used. The
remaining land will be used for the dwellings. There there are concrete
pads that can be “re-used” as foundations for the new homes aligned to 9 Natural vegetation and existing concrete pad
develop intimate streets that lead to the front doors to the homes. If and
when ‘expansion’ is needed, the adjacent site (7 plus acres) offers the
same infrastructure.

14 View of site looking East
13 View of site looking Northwest from Main & Washington

12 Panoramic view of the site 

 
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15 Site study ‐ Context 

 
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16 Site Study ‐ Views 

 
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17 Site study ‐ Environment 

 
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18 Site study ‐ Boundaries 

 
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 19 Site study ‐ Circulation 

 
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Case Studies & Research
When approaching all projects, it is wise to explore areas that have
been traveled before; however, it can better serve an individual to look
outside the normal. Answers that can educate one’s perspective that
otherwise may not be influenced by traditional areas of research and case
studies are found in this realm.
When thinking about how to research and what to explore, I wanted
to pre-define what I was trying to achieve. I was looking to respond to
providing shelter for the homeless but also to instill a sense of pride,
ownership, and self-worth. I wanted to connect the result with a way of 19 San Francisco earthquake cottages of 1906. 
thinking just as much as provide an alternative to a traditional shelter. (National Park Service U.S. Department of the 
Interior, Golden Gate National Recreation Area 
Looking at many topics and projects from as long ago as the early 2003) 
1900’s with the Earthquake cottages of San Francisco, to as recent as the
work done by Samuel Mockbee in the Rual Studio at Auburn University
and Dr. Wez Janz, whose studied how squatter cites and informal builders
claimed left over spaces; I could aspire to a solution that is appropriate and
responsible to the subject matter.
20 Music Man House
Photo by Timothy 
The subject matter researched and analyzed may not have always
Hursley, courtesy of 
provided a clear and direct path to the architectural solution, but it paved Rural Studio 
the way as to how to address what ultimately mattered most. As designers
and architects we strive to provide certain qualities to the user: a sense of
place by defining the space, a comfort level to inspire personal fortitude
and an architectural language that has meaningful purpose to the user.
The resounding commonalities from the case studies and research
proved to be ownership; community; self-growth; simplicity; owner
constructed, learned, and applied skills; and vernacular architecture.

21  A squatter's house in Berlin, photo by Fabian 
Thode (2001). 

 
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Rich Architecture for the Poor - Model House in Ezbet Al-Barsey -Hassan Fathy

How can Las Vegas, a city of constant change and endless possibilities, provide an architectural language that will be as
dynamic as the Las Vegas nightlife with regard to dwellings for the homeless? The concept of a self-built, self-owned community is
not new. In the 1940's, Hassan Fathy studied the culture, lifestyles, and the local economy of the residents of Gourna while
commissioned to design a new city for a peasant class population. In his studies, Hassan Fathy explored many concepts that speak
directly to the potential success of a self-built, self-owned homeless community.

Fathy knew that it was crucial that a good understanding of the climate, material selection, protection from the sun, site
orientation, human scale, life-style, and hands-on participation would result a better community and a better, more satisfying life,
while teaching a skill that would benefit the resident's social and economical status. In the book, Architecture for the Poor, Fathy sets
out to establish a tone that supports the process in which decisions are made and will ultimately define the solutions used in designing
New Gourna. Fathy believed that more than architecture alone would be needed to achieve the greatest impact in the lives of the
people of Gourna. I believe that in order to design, be it a retail store, school, house, or public building, there must be a clear
understanding of what and how things are designed for particular groups of people. In this case, designing a community/village for a
certain population of the homeless community within Las Vegas, it is crucial to allow their lifestyle to inform the building materials
and architectural character. It is commonly accepted that great architecture has evolved into architecture for architects; however,
principles used by Hassan Fathy encourages architects to bridge the gap between folk architecture and the architect's architecture.

In terms of vernacular architecture Fathy provides examples that can be translated into driving principles that I will use to
develop the site and the sitting of the dwellings as well as help inform the architectural character of the dwellings.

Paul Oliver, in his Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World, speaks of vernacular architecture:

"As yet there is no clearly defined and specialized discipline for the study of dwellings or the
larger compass of vernacular architecture. If such a discipline were to emerge it would probably
be one that combines some of the elements of both architecture and anthropology with aspects of
history and geography.”

 
  23 
The symmetry and balance is carefully and quietly delineated between the bedrooms and the living areas creating a pleasant
barrier between private and public, while the circulation really takes shape at the common area between the public and private areas.
The structure or supporting elements are mainly keep to the exterior walls providing a sense of security with large thick walls when
within but still allowing natural day lighting within entire space by bringing in light from above and flooding each room to maintain
that sense of security. The unit of the whole adds extra context to the residence. The scale of the site shows the overall importance to
the region, indicating water source and transportation paths and a closer sense of ownership when viewed within the boundaries of the
community.
The formal shape of a square provides a uniform layout and lends to a simplistic method of construction, keeping both labor
and material costs at a reasonable rate. This shape is the most practical type of housing for people of limited monetary and material
resources. The principles of Hassan Fathy's Architecture for the Poor can provide a foundation for "Rethinking Homeless Living"
while not necessarily following the material selection. Adapting the principles learned from Fathy to the materials that are local and
readily accessible will reinforce the vernacular feel for how Fathy has approached providing architecture for the poor.

"I always say that we benefit more from failure than from successes. Failure makes us consider every aspect of a situation, but success has certain hidden
dangers which when repeated on a larger scale become a disaster. Only by knowing the mistakes in an idea can you find a solution to it and save it from the
beginning.” ~ Hassan Fathy
 
  24 
Fathy's design principles that were incorporated in the design of New Gourna include:

the Malqaf

Conventional HVAC will not be an option for this community and using natural energy
techniques to cool the dwelling works well with the economical constraints while also
providing solutions to cooling with green strategies in practice.

the Mashrabiya

The concept of the Mashrabiya works well in the absence of windows; windows are not
extremely available as construction waste (local materials). A lattice type covering will 22 Example of a Malqaf (Fathy, Natural energy 
and vernacular architecture : principles and 
offer privacy while allowing air into the space for cooling purposes and blocking the examples with reference to hot arid climates 
majority of the direct sun light. 1986) 

the Loggia

The concept of the Loggia is most likely the best way to make outdoor spaces
more comfortable in hot arid climates, the techniques used can be applied to
the walls of the dwellings but also the sitting of buildings thus greatly
creating the same affect for common outdoor gathering areas rendering
these spaces more susceptible to greater, more productive uses.

Orienting the dwelling based on wind patterns and sun angles 23 Diagram of a Loggia (Fathy, Natural energy and vernacular 
architecture : principles and examples with reference to hot 
The wind patterns noted on the site study along with the angle of altitude of arid climates 1986) 
~58 degrees will allow me to develop and test plans, sections, and site 24 Example of 
orienting the dwelling 
orientation that will provide the optimal orientation for each dwelling. This will also based on wind 
intact help provide a more acceptable climate without the aid of mechanical assistance. patterns and sun 
angles (Fathy, Natural 
The angle of the roof to control heat gain energy and vernacular 
architecture : 
principles and 
Materials and surfaces in conjunction with the angle of the roof will complement the examples with 
climate advantages I will be able to gain with the sitting of the dwellings, as well help reference to hot arid 
shape the malqaf for optimal wind capture. climates 1986) 

 
  25 
The use of local and available materials

The local construction industry is always on the go, construction sites pop of all over
town from on the strip to old residential neighborhoods to brand new ones and
everywhere else in-between. In the last quarter of 2007 construction waste amounted to
over 1200 tons, nearly 400 tons of construction a month that was collected and sorted for
recycling.

Designing for the users

Designing for the end user is also another concept that is as old as the ages that
sometimes is overlooked. The shelters today that are the providing shelter for the
homeless have turned into more than can be handled. The programs and square footages
of the facilities are large and wide spreading yet only helping a small numbers, this can
be reversed if the focus shifts to providing targeted areas of support. Instead of providing
a shopping list of amenities, shelter should focus on individual items; in the area there
are several places, yet to small to really help. By providing a village for the homeless
community to live in will free up the shelters to focus on supply medical care, job
placement, skill workshops and no how many they have room for tonight, why people
cannot bring in with them their possessions, etc.

Teaching/providing the residents the skill needed to build and also provide a useful trade

Teaching and providing shills to take out into Las Vegas can help several groups of
people… first and foremost the homeless, by potentially learning new skills they could
quickly become part of the construction force that is part of our valleys economy.
Employers can have a community outreach program where time can be donated to assist
in the success of the Rethink Village. Lastly the shelters will start to see some relief on
their already overburdened resources.

It is important to note that while these two cultures are very different, thousands of miles 25 Images of a villager in New Gourna 
apart, building materials may differ, technology surges, and decades apart there is a common link: applying learned skills (Fathy, Architecture 
for the Poor : An Experiment in Raul Eqypy 
designing for the poor. Designing dwellings for the homeless should incorporate letting them build 1976) 
their own shelters. With the right skills and materials I suggest that a better solution will appear,
better than any social program can provide. Incorporating these architectural principles, a superior living arrangement can be afforded
to those with little to no stable income.
 
  26 
Habitat ’67 – 1967 – Moshe Safdie

The World’s Expo of 1967 featured the design and housing project known as Habitat. At the time Moshe Safdie had the
opportunity to take his thesis design to reality, he left his position as an apprentice with Louis Kahn to complete his vision of
affordable housing constructed from modular methods. Safdie placed much importance on the concept of hierarchy; the study
recognizes the difference between a place and the same place in context to its surroundings. Safdie understands that even more than
just the placement of the project on the site, there is much more to be considered: relationships of nearby uses, the environment,
people who will live in the units, and the social implications to the greater community. A result of the evolution of the site over the
last 30 years is that the change of ownership. Originally designed as a solution to providing affordable housing, Habitat is now an
upper middle class community (Canadian Architecture Collection 2001).
These prefabricated containers are approximately 600 s.f. and arranged in such way that every unit has direct access to the
front door. Each unit also has access to common circulation paths to common amenities and garden areas much to the standards of
Oscar Newman in his book Defensible Spaces. Each resident has ownership of part of their community creating a stronger sense of
community. So much so, that today there is a high demand for a unit at Habitat.

 
  27 
Interpreting Defensible Spaces

The concept of Defensible Spaces has been around since the beginning of time, yet as technologies advance, the simple
understanding of how and why human beings interact and socially unit with each other and the built environment have been set aside
to play second fiddle to the new brand of architecture: architecture for architects. These basic good design strategies that Oscar
Newman wrote about over three decades ago are just as pertinent today as they were thirty years ago, as they were one hundred, five
hundred, a thousand years ago. Unfortunately, it took the request of a government body and a staggering increase of residential
robberies to release these basic and simple strategies back to the architectural community. The efforts to decrease crime in the inner
city and suburbs alike was a blanket approach of providing more policing, altering the scheduled routes, and improving the response
time. The results left a bitter taste in the mouth of law enforcement around the United States. Irregularly beats and faster response
times did little to stifle crime patterns and even less in changing the eventual outcome of crimes.

Although the principles described and diagramed are mainly focused on strategies to help reduce crime in and around multi-
family projects, there are practical design, social, and statistical approaches that cross the development gap that may exist. When
designing retail, office, residential for the masses or a homeless village, the human factor exists. Its existence has primal tendencies.
These tendencies, if not properly developed, will be developed at such vigor and pace as to disrupt normal activities. As finely
balanced as the economy and social affairs can be, it is pertinent to empower all resources available to the architect to combat or at
least influence the behaviors of people when engaged with the built environment. This type of suggestive influence can have long
lasting effects while reinforcing acceptable behavior. Through a series of reports and handbooks, well conceived concepts have been
once again brought to the forefront of Design 101.

Intentionally designing a site plan for a community of homeless people affords itself to resolving common issues such as
location of the houses, public spaces, private spaces, and activity spaces around existing criteria or location of potential power, water,
and sewer connections. Yet, at the end of the day, I will still be pleased to see the community to take a life of its own. These
constraints will inform the location of the program elements as well as site selection and siting. Traditional strategies and improvised
solutions will yield a productive result in terms of site planning, building materials and methods. Although many techniques and
strategies are presented, I have narrowed my focus to site planning and spatial relationships between public and private outdoor
spaces. This focus will illustrate how to provide comfortable living spaces that the residents of Rethink Village will be able to enjoy
and feel safe, in contrast to the current environment that affords no personal space, ownership or pride. The concepts from Oscar
Newman's studies have allowed me to identified five rules that will demonstrate defensible spaces in the site layout and spatial
relations in both density and activity spaces in conjunction with the principles and strategies established by Hassan Fathy for the 'poor'
in hot arid climates as well as defining the architectural character in terms of vernacular architecture (Newman 1975).

 
  28 
"...buildings [dwellings] should be positioned and grounds be subdivided and
allocated so that residents perceived particular areas of the project as being
under their specific sphere of influence.” ~ Oscar Newman

Five rules for designing defensible spaces:

These five rules center on how people behave in their surroundings and how simple change in material, level and surfaces can
produce acceptable behavior for their environment. These rules have goals and results, each one building upon the previous rule,
designing in only a few of these principles progressively hampers the success rate. To obtain the most from defensible spaces and
design a comfortable productive space I believe that all the rules should be implemented.

Goals and Results

Rule #1 - Site dwellings as to create small subdivided/allocated areas of land so


that the residents perceive particular areas under their control

Rule #2 - These areas should be on the direct path to the front door and include
an area for small children play (buffer area between public and private areas)

Goal for #1 &2 - To influence the residents to exert their territorial prerogatives

Result for #1 & 2 - These areas should expect to experience more and intensive use and care/pride

Rule #3 - Numbers... Quantity vs. Grouping - common areas for central/communal activities should be spread throughout the site

Goal for #3 - Simply... spread the wealth

Result for #3 - These areas will sustain better/productive activities as well require
less maintenance

 
  29 
Rule #4 - Define areas of influence - appropriate use and location of physical and symbolic
barriers

Goals for #4 - Physical boundaries - To indicate a legitimate


right to enter

Symbolic boundaries - To interrelate/define


areas to particular spaces

Results for #4 - Politely and unquestionably defined


comfortable and territorial boundaries the enjoyment,
security and beauty of the space

Rule #5 - Proper locations of transition areas to define public areas from private areas

Goal for #5 - To stimulate a type of inculpable behavior appropriate to the level of activity or area

Result for #5 - Outsiders and residents alike will act and react to
symbolic transitions in ways productive to the area...acceptable
behavior

 
  30 
Observation of territorial prerogatives among the homeless community

Territorial behaviors already exist among people groups, including the homeless community. However, this type of behavior is
deemed not appropriate for the certain areas. This non-positive behavior that the homeless have become accustomed to has created
reverse boundaries. Boundaries that spill out into sidewalks and door stoops will render these transition zones unusable or used outside
the intended design. The long term fallout for areas of this type of behavior (although these behaviors do not stem from malicious
intents) is disrupting the social and economical interests of others. I gather that much of the stigma and housing solutions stem from
these behaviors. I suggest that in order to reverse these ill effects that a community devoted to the re-integration of the homeless
populous is supported by the local community in part to develop a village designed to re-teach independent living in a secure,
comfortable, and enjoyable space.

If the current trend continues, downtown businesses will continue to see less and less customers. Closing up shop is and will
continue to be the answer. This process leads to continued growth of the homeless community in these areas where negative territorial
behaviors have taken root. The intent of creating defensible space is to foster community and influence acceptable behavior. The type
of territorial behavior being displayed in certain parts of downtown Las Vegas is just the opposite of proper acceptable behavior. It
was observed that public/private spaces that have been abandoned for whatever reasons have been perceived by the homeless
community as "theirs." This must be a result of watching others discard these spaces that are viewed as a resource and be recycled
back to a useful function in their life. By providing an area and opportunity for the willing homeless, outside the constraints of
traditional shelters, a place to develop these same territorial prerogatives described by Oscar Newman and following the rules outlined
above the results can be two-fold: First, a certain number of the homeless community would be willing to take advantage of
opportunities in order to start the process and re-integrate into mainstream society, or at the very least be able to live in a community
of their peers without the fear of being abused, to be able to properly secure their few belongings with confidence and have a home
they built. Second, this type of village will provide a place for the homeless to live and allow the sidewalks and door stoops be again
reclaimed and used for the designed purpose. This will allow for renewed economical growth back to the downtown areas that have
been lost. Rethink Village offers Las Vegas a unique opportunity to address the homeless community in a positive way that
incorporates techniques that have not been utilized in shelters/group home settings.

 
  31 
Dignity Village – 2001-present

Dignity Village, unlike many villages, encampments, or small towns, is a successful


village of homeless persons that banded together in the winter of 2000 and created a squatters
camp called Dignity Camp.
There are benefits and amenities often found at traditional homeless shelters such as:
access to toilets, showers, cooking and washing facilities, meeting rooms, telephone,
email/email, library materials, internet access, food, clothing and other household items, job
training and income opportunities, continuing education (local partnership with educational 26  Straw‐bale house under construction. 
institutions), future housing placement, and other public benefits. (Hochstein 2004)

While Dignity Village enjoys a diverse population, it is partially


limited to its population size by the constraints of the size of the site
and the distance from downtown Portland. The site analysis to the right
indicates 38 dwellings with more planned as supplies become available.
Building materials and methods vary, much like the residents
themselves. Typical traditional framing account for most of the
buildings on site but alternative sustainable green construction is often
practiced. Other temporary methods (tents, lightwood and tarps) are
used until building supplies and manpower are available. Even though 28 Volunteers work to build 
a construction committee completes the majority of the construction, straw insulated housing at  27 Community Center. Photo by Mark 
Dignity Village. (Hochstein 2004) Lakeman 
residents of Dignity Village are responsible for building their own
dwellings in conjunction with off-site support (school and church
groups, construction companies, architects, and other not-for-profit
organizations) that offer help and assistance. Public interaction during the construction
season creates interaction that is not always available for most homeless people and
helps develop much-appreciated social skills, trade skills, and deeper personal
relationships among fellow residents and the public at large. The active role in
building one’s community instills a sense of ownership, pride, accomplishment, and
self-worth, not widely abundant within the homeless community. The resurrection of
these characteristics provides encouragement, and residents are more likely to be re-
integrated back into mainstream society. The average stay of a Dignity Village
resident is about 18 months and there are dozens of residents that have transitioned
from homelessness to Dignity Village to traditional housing.
29 Site Analysis of Dignity Village

 
  32 
Vernacular Architecture: Impact and Importance

What is Vernacular Architecture? Paul Oliver’s Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World is regarded as the
foremost reference work on the subject edited to date. In it, he defines vernacular architecture as, “comprising the dwellings and all
other buildings of the people. Related to their environmental contexts and available resources they are customarily owner- or
community-built, utilizing traditional technologies. All forms of vernacular architecture are built to meet specific needs,
accommodating the values, economies and ways of life of the cultures that produce them.” (Oliver, Vernacular architecture of the
world 1997). However, vernacular architecture should not be just simply viewed as traditional or non-technological. It has served as a
guide for alternative solutions. More increasingly, architects and developers turn to vernacular architecture and it has become a vital
part in the development and execution of green strategies. Age old concepts are becoming more entwined into architectural theory and
practice.

Informal builders are often constrained by their economical status, regional location, and available materials, yet are able to
construct buildings that are appropriate to their region, community, and family structure. Using only materials readily available and no
input from professional architects, builders adapt the materials to suit their needs. The study of vernacular architecture is a growing
field with interest gaining from all walks of life and over all the continents. Although there is evidence of vernacular architecture,
there is not one single type. Informal builders rely upon their culture, environment, history, and lifestyle to influence their buildings.
These items are the root of inquest by professionals in the 21st century as they look for ways to become more energy efficient and
focus on sustainability.

By relying on themselves to provide shelter and infrastructure for survival, informal builders are often not given the credit that
is due. For centuries, they have been doing the tasks of several professions at a skill level and accuracy that is often envied in
developed countries. The material selection, process, and technical skills that are passed down from generation to generation are in
many ways similar to the process in which many professions teach their skills. Many materials and techniques that are practiced today
are rooted in vernacular architecture and are still looking at the vernacular for insight into the future.

When developing a community like Rethink Village, it is appropriate to look at the vernacular for inspiration, guidance, and
precedents. The resiliency and effectiveness of the vernacular to sustain life and community should be more widely accepted as a
design strategy rather than just scavenged through for areas of interest and discarded as inferior design and technique.

 
  33 
33 Timber Pallet Workshop": I‐Beam Design in 
31 Miscellaneous barn. (Rudofsky 1987) 30 Adobe brick and thatched roof. (Rudofsky collaboration with Department of Architecture at Ball 
1987) State University, Muncie, Indiana, U.S. (2004). 

The biggest challenge is yet to come… Now


there is beauty on the outside; how do we come
back and build the infrastructure within the
human soul?
Alice Coles, president, Bayview Citizens for Social Justice

32 Catedral de Justo (Mejorada del Campo);  34 Mongolian ger: with roof poles in place;  35 A squatter's house in Berlin, photo by 


Photo by Juan Lupión (2006)  Photo by en:User:Tkn20  Fabian Thode (2001). 

 
  34 
 
  35 
 
  36 
Architectural Solutions
Through selection of site, a comfortable middle can be established that will allow for optimal public participation and will serve
the residents of Rethink Village in a way unique to their surroundings, lifestyle, economic status, and willing participation.

Public involvement can be facilitated in several ways: establishing a relationship with contractors, builders, architects and faith-
based/community groups will provide viable materials, labor, and support needed to nurture Rethink Village to a popular, productive,
and meaningful community. This type of support sets in motion the rest of the pieces, including organizing the materials, creating an
inventory, setting up a working schedule (construction committee), completing a dwelling, and repeating this process until a substantial
community is realized.

The process I took to test the feasibility of these actions was simply to put them in motion. I had already established that there are
homeless persons that look at this approach with appreciative eyes; so I took a few weeks to speak to contractors about this process and
collect materials from construction sites that had been either set aside, tossed in the construction waste bin, or salvaged from the desert.
After several successful outings I was able to store, inventory, and assess what had been collected and a design emerged from materials,
research, environmental constraints, and personal preference.2

The steps documented in the design + build illustrate the process I used to construct my dwelling. They include foundation,
framing, roofing, and the exterior coverings. These areas offer insight to the process, constructability, struggles, accomplishments,
materials, and tools required to complete my dwelling. I am pleased with the process, lessons learned, and the final product, and I have
new appreciation for what I am asking others to do. It is with these new appreciations I feel confident that what I am proposing is very
feasible, acceptable, worthwhile, and will develop a strong sense of ownership, community, pride, self worth, accomplishment, and self-
growth that can lead to being re-integrated into the mainstream community as a productive, active member.

Site Plan and Program

The selection of this site became quite clear when certain attributes were defined. In order for a site to be considered for use in
conjunction for a self-built, self-governed, homeless community it must meet or exceed the following:

be centrally located within an assembly of a homeless population


be located where public assistance programs are in reasonable walking distance
be located where public transportation systems are in reasonable walking distance

                                                           
2
 I based the design of the dwelling on my preferences as if it was a dwelling for me along with the principles learned from Fathy, Safdie, and Newman. 
 
  37 
be in a location that is accessible to the public (mainstream community)
have adjacencies that are not intrusive to either the public or the homeless community (best locations would be near or adjacent
to industrial uses where infrastructure is existing and close.
be zoned for either multi-family or currently have no zoning 3
be abandoned or be vacant of public/private use for a minimum of two years
minimal infrastructure such as access to power, sewer, potable water
minimal boundaries that can establish symbolic and physical boundaries
can provide adequate individual and common/public areas sufficient for expected growth
some vegetation to allow reprieve from the elements

While the acquisition of a site may come in several ways, either by grant, loan, donation, or, in the future, sale from a
public/private entity, it is important to plan accordingly to the impact that this community will have on both the city and homeless
community. I propose that there be a three-phase plan adopted to accommodate both the expected community growth as well as
respond to needs of the community as far as infrastructure and amenities continue to develop.

36 Programming diagram and 
allocation pie chart 

                                                           
3
 Such as properties that abut highways, but provide both safe vehicular and pedestrian access. 
 
  38 
PHASE I
s.f. per 
Quanity  Space  person  s.f. per unit  total s.f.  Occupancy  Components  Adjacencies  Notes 
Dwellings        5,040  R‐3        serving 36 homeless persons 
Single  Twin bed, storage area (18 s.f.) 
36  Type A Dwelling  140.00  140  5,040  occupant  sitting area for two  private gardens    
Storage        800             
open storage yard, tool shed, 
1  Storage Yard  22.22  800  800  S‐1  material shed  Village Center  access from access road 
Village Center        4,220             
2  Rest rooms (Men)     180  360     Three composting toilets, two       
2  Rest rooms (Women)     180  360     hand sinks each       
4  Shower room (Men)      50  200     shower drain connections to       
4  Shower room (Women)     50  200     public sewer       
three reading stations, checkout 
1  Library area  11.11  400  400     counter, material shelf     relocated at phase three 
50 folding chairs, 2 dry‐erase 
3  Meeting/Mulit‐purpose rooms  66.67  800  2,400     boards     relocated at phase three 
access to library, adjacent to 
1  Donation distribution center  4.17  150  150        community bldg  relocated at phase three 
access to mail room/library 
1  Technology Center  4.17  150  150        computer/internet, telephone  relocated at phase three 
Community Center        100  C          
1  information desk     10  10     desk, chair       
1  check‐in/security     15  15     desk, chair       
1  Storage     75  75             
Garden        1,035             
36  Private garden  10.00  10  360        at front entry of dwellings  hand watered 

3  Community garden  6.25  225  675             


Waste/Compost        400             
edge of site/adjacent to community 
1  Waste/Compost Site     400  400        garden could be relocated at phase 3    

Phase one planning will include housing for up to 36 single occupant


dwellings that would respond to the demands of a start-up community. This
start-up community will be supported by a storage yard for collection and
storage of building materials, a village center where day-to-day tasks of
seeing to a successful community would take place in addition to providing
clean, secure accessible areas for bathing (separate facilities for men and
women), a gathering room (village meetings and announcements), a small
donation center, resource area, and training room. In order to help provide a
source of food and village involvement, public and private gardens would be
highly encouraged and an area would be set aside, safely away from
dwellings, as well as a waste composite pit used primarily for fertilizer in
the gardens.

 
  39 
PHASE II 
s.f. per  s.f. per 
Quanity  Space  person  unit  total s.f.  Occupancy  Components  Adjacencies  Notes 
serving an additional 30 
Dwellings        3,480           homeless persons 
Twin bed, storage area (18 s.f.) sitting 
12  Type A   140.00  140  1,680  (single occupant)  area for two  private gardens    
Two Twin beds, storage area (18 s.f.) 
9  Type B  100.00  200  1,800  (double occupant)  sitting area for three  private gardens    
Storage        800             
1  Storage Yard  26.67  800  800  S‐1          
Village Center        560             
1  Rest rooms (Men)     180  180     Three composting toliets, two hand sinks       
1  Rest rooms (Women)     180  180     Three composting toliets, two hand sinks       
2  Shower room (Men)      50  100     shower drain connection to public sewer       
2  Shower room (Women)     50  100     shower drain connection to public sewer       
Community Center        1,100  C          
2  medical clinic (exam)     100  200     desk, chair       
3  job training workshop     150  450     desk, chair       
1  retail area     200  200     desk, chair       
1  Storage     100  100             
1  Donation drop off     150  150     desk, chair       
Garden        435             
21  Private garden  7.00  10  210             
1  Community garden  7.50  225  225             

Phase two planning will include an additional 21 dwellings that could


accommodate another 30 persons, as well as more public and private
gardens. This increase of population, which should be expected in a short
amount of time as word gets out about the opportunities available at Rethink
Village, will require a more stable village center. Along with a building for
the community to become more involved, this community center would
offer room for clinics, work force training, a retail area (trading post), and a
permanent larger donation center. This phase will also include additional
facilities for both men and women to bathe and wash up for potential job
interviews.

 
  40 
PHASE III 
s.f. per  s.f. per  total 
Quanity  Space  person  unit  s.f.  Occupancy  Components  Adjacencies  Notes 
serving an additional 
Dwellings        5,580  R‐3        76 homeless persons 
12  Type A   140.00  140  1,680  Single occupant  Twin bed, storage area (18 s.f.), sitting area for two  private gardens    
12  Type B  100.00  200  2,400  Double occupant  Two Twin beds, storage area (18 s.f.), sitting area for three  private gardens    
converted Village 
1  Type C  37.50  1,500  1,500  Multi‐occupant  sleeping arrangements for 40 persons     Center  
Village Center        2,160             
1  Rest rooms (Men)     180  180     Three composting toilets, two hand sinks       
1  Rest rooms (Women)     180  180     Three composting toilets, two hand sinks       
2  Shower room (Men)      50  100     shower drain connection to public sewer       
2  Shower room (Women)     50  100     shower drain connection to public sewer       
three additional reading stations, checkout counter, 
1  Library area     400  400     material shelf       
3  Meeting/Multipurpose rooms     300  900     50 additional folding chairs, 2 additional dry‐erase boards       
access to library, adjacent to 
1  Donation distribution center     150  150        community bldg    
access to mail room/library 
1  Technology Center     150  150        computer/internet, telephone    
Garden        405             
18  Private garden     10  180             
adjacent to village center and 
1  Community garden     225  225        dwelling units 
Waste/Compost        400             
1  Waste/Compost Site     400  400             

The need for a third phase will not only superfluously account for the
growing amount of interested persons but express need and desire for a
community like Rethink Village. With this growth comes much more
housing; 12 single occupant dwellings, 12 double occupant dwellings and
the conversion of the former village center to a multipurpose building that
could accommodate up to 40 additional persons during ‘high peak’ times
around winter months and influxes of the homeless community during
times of crisis. Also, the storage yard would be expanded to accommodate
for larger volumes of materials as programs are developed with the local
construction community that could serve as start-up for future sites. The
need for a larger permanent building for the village center that will expand
its role to include a larger resource center that will include a library and
computer stations as well as additional bathing and washing facilities.

 
  41 
Reusing the Site

As an exercise to help evaluate the chosen site that meet the required criteria, I felt it
necessary to diagram the site in several ways that eventually lead to a site plan design supporting
the principles of Fathy, Safdie, and Newman, while relating to vernacular architecture and how
informal builders would reuse the existing site conditions to suit their needs.
An inventory of the site yielded six distinct attributes to the site in its current condition
(this site was previously home to a mobile home community):

Paved surfaces
Concrete pads (nearly all reusable)
Circulation paths
Anticipated circulation nodes (intersecting paths and paved surfaces)
Existing natural vegetation (mature shade trees)
Existing infrastructure (power, sewer, potable water)

These studies laid the ground work for the eventual site plan that will become Rethink
Village. A site rich with history that once provided stable housing with emphases on instilling
ownership, pride, and community spirit can once again stand proudly on the corner of Main Street
and Washington Avenue, and instilling ownership, pride, and community spirit in its residents.

 
  42 
The previous exercise components allowed development of a site plan that allowed for additional programming that had been
missing before. The back bone/purpose of the site is to provide a place in which homeless person will be able to build their own living
dwellings in a manner that will promote community, ownership, and self-pride. The muscle tissues of the site, if you will, become the
support uses, the existing infrastructure, the storage yard, and the smaller gathering nodes that will occur naturally in-between
dwellings and in routes from place to place.
The heart of Rethink Village is undoubtedly the village center, where day-to-day operations of the village will occur. The village
center is a common safe place to gather for informative village meetings, individual committee meetings, distribution of donations,
and access to library materials, computers, and the village post office. This building should be treated as the lifeline to the village and
thus, when it becomes time to develop the permanent building, special emphasis should be placed in the design and materials so that
the spirit and hard work that is Rethink Village is expressed architecturally4.
The lungs of the community, a connection point where a fresh breath breathes life into both Las Vegas and Rethink Village is
the Community Center. It is similar to the function of the Village Center, but the Community Center is the connection point between
the Las Vegas community and Rethink Village. This building represents a gateway to becoming re-integrated into mainstream society,
located prominently at the corner of Main and Washington as the welcome center, training center, medical clinics, donation drop off,
center, and trading post.

                                                           
4
 It would be difficult to apply appropriate architectural language to the village center until the residents have made their mark and can be part of the design.
However, it should be noted that a relationship to the site, residents, and community should be the overwhelming factor when it comes time to develop the
permanent village center. 
 
  43 
 
  44 
37 Entry areas at Rethink Village from Washington 

38 Looking East along Washington

39 Arial view of Rethink Village

 
  45 
Collection Process – Keys to Success

As is the case for most projects, a series of items must be met to ensure a
positive and favorable outcome. There are four intangibles that cannot be gained
by mere financial contributions. There needs to be a willingness to connect to
persons outside of our usual circle. A project/community like Rethink Village
offers a perfect opportunity for community involvement. Working outside and
with your hands promotes healthy interaction that will develop and be nourished
into more meaningful relationships while teaching shills that can lead to
employment.
Support from city officials will be greatly increased when supported by the
locals, leading to stronger commitments from the city to work with homeless in
support of a community like Rethink Village. The access to materials will also
increase once relationships with the local building industry and city officials are
established. The possibilities include: offering LEED points to developers and
owners for participating in Rethink Village by providing and transporting of
materials, providing man hours in the construction (and oversight) of building
living units, or swapping day labor for certain materials. The possibilities are
endless and offer a win-win situation for all parties involved.
Architects must know and completely understand what it will take to “build
my house.” What are we willing and not willing to do for a stable community life
and home? What part of this process needs to be aided by persons with
experience? What type of community involvement can be expected? How will
Rethink Village be able to collect, store, inventory, and allot materials for a
desired amount of buildings to serve the community?

40 Volunteers work to build straw insulated housing at Dignity 
Village. (Hochstein 2004) 

 
  46 
 
  47 
Source Collection Storage

41 Contractors within Las Vegas.  Courtesy of Google Earth

There are approximately 700 General Contractors Ensure ample room for raw
in Las Vegas materials (collected)

Approximately 160 are within a 7 mile radius Provide segmented areas for pre-
assembled parts
There are more than 9 times more sub-contractors
Scheduled times with contractors
Provide secure area for tools
for either pick-up or delivery of
materials

 
  48 
Community Involvement

Community Groups
• Approximately 900 churches in Las Vegas – over 300 churches within a 7 mile radius
• More than 200 local Boy Scout Councils serving thousands of members
• An active Habitat for Humanity chapter
• Various other Charitable, Social and Volunteer groups to help

42 Boy Scout meeting locations. Courtesy of Google Earth 43 Church locations. Courtesy of Google Earth

 
  49 
   

 
  50 
   

 
  51 
Design + Build

Coming into the design + build process was a result of many things coming together. I was in need of a method that was
real and could be tested in a manner that spoke to the ideas and emotions that I had held so dear to the success if this project and
village. In order to test the feasibility of a self-built community, have solidarity in certain expectations, and learn how to
assist/develop standards that will guide homeless persons in the building of their community and homes, I would have to ask
myself the same questions. What am I willing to do to build my home? Can I do this myself with limited knowledge of
construction techniques? What type of materials should I start to collect? How do I approach a contractor/construction site for left
over materials or materials that have been scrapped? Although I have experience and knowledge of how to put together a set of
construction documents (ranging from a spec house to a convention center) I have little hands-on experience of actually building
any buildings. With the help of my wife (who has less experience than I reading plans but slightly more in actual construction and
woodworking), I was going to build me a house!

After several weeks of collecting materials and speaking to contractors about the project and process, I found that
several were willing to assist with materials while others were not. Although the resounding response was positive, part of me
wonders what the response would have been if I didn’t know them, had been homeless, or had been a representative of Rethink
Village trying to establish relationships. Part of this process would be to establish these connections and it would be
advantageous for a person in the construction industry to be part of the construction committee at Rethink Village to help the
collection process along. Once these relationships are formed, the process would take on a life of its own. Architects, spec
writers, and contractors could incorporate language that would provide contractors a way to set aside materials and establish a
collection/transport process.
Once materials were collected, it became apparent that a proper, secure, and large enough storage yard would be
required to store materials. The storage yard would need to be divided into several segments that would allow for component
inventorying, processing, and distribution for builds. A larger area would be required to sort through collected materials and
allow for same dismantling of salvageable materials.
Possession of materials without tools presents a problem. The tools necessary for the build were simple, nothing out of
the ordinary, but still needed. As part of the collection process, tools would also be sought out to complement the array of tools
that may already be available within the community.
Once there was a firm grasp of the inventoried materials and design took place, the build process started.

 
  52 
Foundation

There are many sites within the community


where a concrete slab would be available to
build on, however; I decided to choose a site
that would require a foundation. Using left
over corner masonry blocks, I developed a
detail that would allow the blocks to act as
piers and be crossed by 2x6s and covered by
plywood to create a foundation. The
anchoring system detailed is similar to that
used by mobile homes; an anchor strap
would be staked into the earth at an angle
securing both the block and 2x providing a
secure foundation on which to build the
walls.
(To see the video of the build please visit http://kab-3-
thesis.blogspot.com/2008/10/foundation.html or the CD
at the back of the book.)

Materials
• 2x6x8’ wood studs - 7
• Masonry blocks – 28
• 16d nails - 1 lb
Tools
• Hammer (2)
• Hand saw (2, skill saw preferred)
• Level (small and large)
• Tape measure
• Steaks
• Staking string
• Gloves
• Goggles
• Water

Man hours: 8-12

 
  53 
 
  54 
The first task to building the foundation was to stake out the footprint of
the dwelling. In order to ensure straight and square sting lines, a starting point
needed to be established, crossed to another stake to establish a 45 degree angle,
crossed straight past the first dimension to establish another 45, and repeated
footprint was closed. The footprint which we used was more complicated than
what should be used. A square footprint would greatly reduce unneeded
complications and reduce the man hours dramatically. Once the footprint was
established, the rest of the foundation process fell into place.
The masonry blocks were placed in a pattern that provided support to the
ends, being careful not to have spans larger than 32 inches at the 2x6s and not
more than 28 inches when the plywood is applied. The blocks at the perimeter
were laid in a way that allowed the 2x to be placed as close to the perimeter the
block would allow. This allowed the sill plate and walls to be nailed in place
without fear of running a nail into the block and weakening the foundation.
Additional support was used where I felt there was too much deflection5. The
spacing used proved to be adequate and when using ¾” plywood there would be
no deflection to speak of.
Laying out the 2x6s and securing them with the straps was the most
straight forward part of building the foundation. Once all the floor boards (2x6s)
were secured we moved onto the floor sheathing.
We used ½” plywood for the floor sheathing and attached full
sheets starting at one corner of the dwelling. We then moved to the
opposite corner and attached another sheet, leaving a cut sheet in the
middle. In order to cut the sheets to cover the angled areas at the sitting
room and entry we placed the sheet at a corner and marked off where
the coverage was needed and made the cut, we repeated this process
until all areas were covered with the floor sheathing. Again, a square
footprint would have made this process significantly easier and quicker.

                                                           
5
 We used ½” plywood that was collected, it proved to be adequate, but I would recommend that ¾” be used when available and save the ½” for either the
roofing or siding.  
 
  55 
 
  56 
Framing

The framing of this dwelling was


done in six exterior walls and one additional
wall that created the roof element. In
framing these walls I learned that it is
essential to take your time and think all the
studs out. Even with the framing plans to
reference, it was evident that it may not take
too much skill and training to swing a
hammer but guidance from a framer would
make a huge difference in time saved doing
it right the first time.
(To see the video of the build please visit http://kab-
3-thesis.blogspot.com/2008/10/framing.html or the
CD at the back of the book.)

Materials
2x4x8’ wood studs - 72
2x4x10’ wood studs – 4
16d nails - 8 lbs
Tools
Hammer (2)
Work table
Saw horses (2sets)
Hand saw (2, skill saw preferred)
Level (small and large)
Tape measure
Steaks (12” long, metal)
Ladder
Gloves
Goggles
Water
Man hours – 9-15

 
  57 
 
  58 
Framing the walls went fairly quickly and less complicated than the staking
process proved to be. A good hammer, some nails, and a flat surface is all that is
really required to frame walls. That little extra experience will make this process a
bit smother but is not yet all that crucial to the success.
Starting again with the most straight-forward wall (W6), a dry run proved
valuable, placing all the studs where the framing plan indicated and then measuring
the center line of the studs on the sill plate and top plate made for attaching the
studs a simple and efficient. Again starting from one side, I worked myself around
the wall until all the studs were nailed in place.
Putting in the horizontal blocking support is where some experience will
come in handy. I had already moved the wall and moved on to the next wall before
I realized that I needed to add the blocking. Moving the wall a couple times made
the connections weak and I felt that I needed to start over. This time I repeated what
I had previously done but \the blocking was put in at the same time as the studs.
This made moving the wall and storing it much easier and more secure.
Construction of these walls can be done either during the build or, to reduce
down time, many walls could be ‘pre-fabricated’ in the storage yard and set aside
until the day of the build. Either way it will be necessary to have some basic
understanding of the framing plans prior to swinging away.
The most inspiring part of building the walls was the amount of help that
came my way, including a neighbor who was a framing contractor who offered
materials and some of his time to help raise the walls, my sister-in-law who has
very little prior building experience spent one weekend helping frame and stand the
walls, also my wife’s uncle who had been a framer between high school and joining
the Air Force. They all told me that getting out doors and building things with their
hands was a far better use of time than sitting around the house, and it came with a
reward not too often felt – a feeling of accomplishment and a job well done,
something to be proud of and have the ability to say, “I built that. I was part of
something meaningful.”

 
  59 
 
  60 
Roofing

When developing the plans and


workable details, a decision was made to
develop a system that included no trusses.
The lack of trusses favored a simpler
process and skill set in providing a secure
and reliable roof system. A simple jig was
utilized to create the back wall/roof
component, creating the high roof that will
allow for circulation of air. The lower roof
was framed on top of the top plates and then
covered with ½” sheets of OSB.
(To see the video of the build please visit http://kab-
3-thesis.blogspot.com/2008/10/roofing.htmll or the
CD at the back of the book.)

Materials
• 2x4x8’ wood studs - 32
• 4x8x1/2” OSB – 5
• 16d nails - 4 lb

Tools
• Hammer (2)
• Work Table
• Hand saw (2, skill saw preferred)
• Saw horses (2 sets)
• Level (small and large)
• Tape measure
• Ladder
• Gloves
• Goggles
• Water

Man hours – 8-12

 
  61 
 

Rear wall/roof jig

Vertical piece

Roof joist attached to rear wall

Attach 10" filler Attach 12" splice
 
  62 
 
  63 
 
  64 
Skins

There were several areas where some sort of


‘skin’ was required to make this house compete to
the level of becoming a home. For the purpose of
this build, a small application of all the different
‘skins’ was demonstrated, such as: exterior
sheathing, exterior finish material, roofing sheathing,
roofing material, and interior gypsum board.
(To see the video of the build please visit http://kab-
3-thesis.blogspot.com/2008/10/roofing.html or the
CD at the back of the book.)

Materials
• 4x8x1/2” OSB – 7 (roof sheathing)
• 250 S.F. of plastic siding/asphalt shingle/etc
(roofing material)
• 4x8x1/2” OSB – 16 (exterior sheathing)
• 500 S.F. of plastic siding/exterior grade
plywood/etc (exterior finish material)
• 700 S.F. of drywall
• 16d nails - 4 lb
• Drywall nails – 1 lb
Tools
• Hammer (2)
• Work Table
• Hand saw (2, skill saw preferred)
• Saw horses (2 sets)
• Level (small and large)
• Tape measure
• Ladder
• Gloves
• Goggles
• Water
Man hours – 8-12

 
  65 
Level of Completion

Architecture is a rare subject, in that there is a fine line of


being done and still having plenty left to finish up. Construction on
the other hand is very clear when a project is done.
This community, this idea of working with the homeless,
this vernacular type of architecture and construction, will be in
many ways complete; by the number of people that Rethink
Village will serve, help and reintegrate back into mainstream
society yet allow for areas of improvement in infrastructure and
new discussions of how homeless persons live day to day within
the community rather than outside the community and thus never
complete.
As one home is built and another person joins the
community, another home is started. This community will continue
to grow until the site physically cannot sustain any more growth
leading way to another site.

 
  66 
 
  67 
1.6

 
  68 
 
  69 
 
  70 
 
  71 
Conclusions
Community Involvement

A project really comes to life is when the community becomes involved. In many cases, the community only becomes
involved in a project until after the doors have been opened to the public. This is an interesting phenomenon that has just
recently become the norm. It used to be that the community got involved in nearly every aspect of building a community from
raising of a barn to the building or a church or school house, to making sure these developments had the necessary tools and
materials to complete the job.
Interestingly enough, I have found that there is still a desire to get out and participate in the community and build with
others. This is extremely evident in programs such as Habitat for Humanity, the rural studio program at Auburn University, the
work and research being done at Ball State University with the “one small project” (Wes Janz n.d.), faith based building
missions, and even celebrities like Brad Pitt (“Make it Right” project) are getting involved with hands on support and
construction while connecting with people.
In order for Rethink Village to be successful in Las Vegas, it must be supported by the architectural community, with
architects at the helm providing leadership. Our skill set can ensure proper design, construction and coordination with minimal
materials, alternative building methods and unique approaches to resolving issues that are faced by the homeless community.
Architects are trained to design pleasing, comfortable spaces with the user in mind while providing a sense of belonging within
ones surroundings. Architects are trained to listen to the client’s desires, program, and constraints and then provide design
solutions that best fit the client. Hassan Fathy did not just provide architecture for the poor but created a way for the ‘homeless’
of his region a way to better themselves and create with their own hands a home, a skill that could be used for a source of
income. It is these concepts that I propose architects stand up and share.
The result of community involvement in projects and communities like this will help remove some social barriers
between the homeless and mainstream society while providing a way for individuals to give back in a way that allows for a
personal connection with people looking to improve themselves that may not otherwise do so.

 
  72 
The Process

When starting a project that has more questions than answers, it is often the case that failures account for a large portion
of the successes. Hassan Fathy said, “Only by knowing the mistakes in an idea can you find a solution to it and save it from the
beginning.” It was only with failures that I was able to discover where I need to improve.
By building my own unit I was able to test my design, see where I failed and adjust as I went along. Doing this, I
corrected many things in the field, while other items worked themselves out on paper after I was able to touch and examine my
failures. When details were successful, I was able to step back and examine what made them work. What was it that had
occurred, what was the root of the success? More often than not I had slowed down, stepped back, paid attention to those that
were working with me and I listened. What was happening was a connection with people, a connection with people that had a
different background than me, were not as invested in the process as I was, yet had a clear vision of what it was that I had set
out to accomplish. This build in a community devoted to the success of its residents provides for a situation in which they are
willing to place themselves outside a comfort level and trust others that are not in the same social or economical class but part
of the same goal, being an active, productive part of their community.

Influencing the future

“As individuals, most American architects sincerely assert that they are deeply
concerned about issues of social and economic justice. Yet, over the past twenty
years, as a profession they have steadily moved away from engagement with any
social issues, even those that fall within their realm of professional competence,
such as homelessness, the growing crisis in affordable and appropriate housing,
the loss of environmental quality, and the challenge posed by traffic-choked,
increasingly unmanageable urban areas.” ~ Margaret Crawford

If, in the end, this community provides a viable solution to helping homeless people access a better way to develop
social skill, labor skills, self-worth, self-respect and a sense of belonging while turning a new leaf towards being reintegrated
into the mainstream society, then this community will be a huge success. If this community, brought about by people willing to
work with each other, materials once discarded, and commitment to get involved rather than setting aside, provokes a new
awareness and conversation about how a city can work with the homeless community to better assist their way of living and
build upon social issues surrounding them, success can be realized.

 
  73 
Hands-on leadership and teaching can be resurrected within the architectural community. Architecture has become a
place where it is all but forbidden to collaborate on ideas and concepts because of fear of competition, compensation, and
lawsuits. The concepts explored and tested here can also serve the design profession for the betterment of architects and the
community. It has been asked: Is it best to “design for” or would the design profession be better served to “design with” the
builders of informal cities” I believe that in order for communities, community leaders and architects to stop asking: “Why is
what we did for them unappreciated, or even under used,6” architects must stop and understand what we are asking of people.
We are asking them to allow us to determine how, where, and when to live. Architects must be dedicated to the process.
Architects must be willing to engage our communities and get in the trenches. Architects must establish meaningful
relationships with clients, users, contractors, and community leaders. It is time for architects to step out of the confines of the
office, the classroom, or construction site and step into the real world where real clients live and can be involved in the
decisions that will affect them the most. Rather than sit back in our comforts and talk of “social responsibility” we should
engage our communities and be part of the solution by participating in the process of advancement.
Bringing architects and architecture back to the role of civic contributors will rekindle the spirit of architecture that is
instilled into us during our education: a sense of ownership, spirit of community, and knowledge of sustainable construction.
We can use these skills to re-engage ourselves in the process. The process needs to afford architects the ability to slow down,
work one-on-one with people and connect on a personal level. With this rekindling, the process can change and the
commitment can be strengthened. These two areas can revolutionize the method of delivery and thus provide a better product.
Whether the product be a shopping mall, a office building, a mega structure or new methods and solutions to providing
homeless persons a community that is rich with ideals that they develop, a sense of ownership, self-worth and accomplishment,
a skill set and a stable home life that will reawaken senses and welcome then back into mainstream society.

                                                           
6
 Dr. Wes Janzi of Ball State University, May 2008 e‐mail. 
 
  74 
Appendix

 
  75 
Appendix
Rethink Village Applications
The content of the proposed following forms closely resemble those that have been adopted and used by Dignity Village, INC in Portland Oregon (Diginity
Village, INC 2003). The purpose of this section is to illustrate the necessity, practically, and comprehensive review of the applicants to ensure a successful
community and reinforce positive, active behavior in the pursuit of a self-built, self-governed community, as well demonstrate to the city of Las Vegas officials
dedication to the process.

Entrance/Exit Resident Survey

Entrance Information: Name: ______________________________________ Age: __________ Entrance Date: __________

Reason for choosing to live at Rethink Village: ___________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Prior living situation, location: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Any additional Information: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Exit Information: Exit Date: __________

Reason for leaving Rethink Village: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anticipated next living situation, location: _______________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Any additional information:


_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Prospective Resident Application Form

 
  76 
Appendix
for Rethink Village

Name: ______________________________________ Age: __________ Date: __________

Is this your first time requesting residency at Rethink Village? ____________

If no, when and for how long was your previous stay? ______________________________________________________________________________

What was your reason for leaving? _____________________________________________________________________________________________

Past work experience? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Special Interests, talents or skills ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Medical Conditions: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Emergency Contact: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Check if completed:

I have received an information sheet and Skills assessment form ____________

I understand the five basic rules as they have been explained to me ____________

I understand there are Bylaws that I will abide by and can obtain a copy upon request ____________

I understand that there are required membership and council meetings ____________

I understand that I must contribute to the community ____________

I understand that I cannot become a voting member until after 14 days of living at Rethink Village and be at least 18 years of age ____________

Signature ________________________________ Name you wish to go by: _________________________

Signature of Welcoming Committee Representative: _________________________________________________

Admittance Agreement Application

 
  77 
Appendix
for Rethink Village

What we do is based on love and respect for ourselves and each other. There will be no disrespect here based on religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, handicap,
age, lifestyle choice, previous record or economic status.

Our Mission
We seek to create a green sustainable urban village reusing construction waste and community involvement for those who are seeking an alternative to the typical
shelter. We feel it necessary to establish a community-based living community where people living on the streets can have their basic needs met in a stable,
sanitary environment free of violence, drugs and alcohol until they are able to access housing.

What do you want or expect from Rethink Village?


To stay in Rethink Village, you must agree to and follow
our five basic rules:
__________________________________________________________

1. No violence toward yourself or others.


__________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________ 2. No illegal substances or alcohol or paraphernalia on


the premises or within a one-block radius.
What can you contribute or give back to Rethink Village?
3. No stealing.
__________________________________________________________
4. Everyone contributes to the upkeep and welfare of the
village and works to become a productive member of the
__________________________________________________________
community.

__________________________________________________________
5. No disruptive behavior of any kind that disturbs the
general peace and welfare of the village.

I understand that Rethink Village is incorporated as a membership-based non-profit organization. By signing this agreement, I may become eligible for
membership, according to the terms of the bylaws. In addition, due to the participatory culture of Rethink Village, I understand that it is sometimes necessary to
convene meetings of members or Village Councilors with less advance notice than required by NRS. Therefore, in signing this agreement, I agree to forego and
forfeit all rights to advance notice of emergency meetings of the Membership or Village Council, as provided by Section 4.10.1 of the Rethink Village bylaws. I
have read the Rethink Village Admittance Agreement and agree with its terms and I agree to live by these terms and the rules of the Village.

Name: ___________________________________ Signature: ______________________________________ Date: ________________________________

Rethink Village Skills Assessment Form

 
  78 
Appendix

Name: ________________________________________________ Date: _______________

Do you have any interests, hobbies or skills you may be able to donate to your community? The following check list will help you think about different ways
you can contribute and be an active member of Rethink Village:

Are you artistic, creative?

o Drawing, lettering for logos, Signs, illustrations, posters, flyers, etc


o Computer graphics
o Write articles, stories, promotions, etc
o Performance (acting, magic, dancing, music) for either presentations or community gatherings

Do you have presentation skills?

o Speaking, presenting to groups in the city and community


o Sitting on a panel to answer questions about Rethink Village to the city and community groups

Do you have organizational and/or office skills?

o Filing, folding flyers, stuffing envelopes for mailing


o volunteer, activity and task coordination
o Phone skills for events, meetings, follow-up responses, etc.

Do you have any technical/trained skills?

o Experience in system management


o Electrical wiring
o Plumbing
o Framing (construction)
o Reading/creating construction plans
o Reading/interpreting zoning/building codes

Please list any other skills that you feel will contribute to the success and growth to Rethink Village: ________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 
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Rethink Village Bylaws
The content of the proposed following Bylaws closely resemble those that have been incorporated and adopted by Dignity Village, INC in Portland Oregon
(Diginity Village, INC 2003). The purpose of this section is to illustrate the necessity, practically, and legality of such documents to ensure a successful
community and reinforce positive, active behavior in the pursuit of a self-built, self-governed community, as well demonstrate to the city of Las Vegas officials
dedication to the process.

BYLAWS

OF RETHINK VILLAGE, INC.

ARTICLE I

NAME AND OFFICE

Section 1.01 -- Name

The name of the Corporation shall be Rethink Village.

Section 1.02 - Office

The principal office shall be located at such an address as the Village Council may from time to time determine.

Section 1.03 - Purpose

Rethink Village is an intentional community dedicated to helping homeless people resolve the issues and problems that resulted in their homelessness. We do not
discriminate for age, gender or gender identity, race or ethnic origin or for any other reason. The purposes for which this Corporation is organized are exclusively
charitable and educational and consist of the following:

(1) To create a safe, clean, self-governed community environment for economically distressed residents of the State of Nevada, through establishment of an
open-air place where people living on the streets can have their basic needs met in a stable, sanitary environment, until they are able to access another form of
housing more in keeping with said resident’s personal goals and aspirations.

(2) To promote community wide interest and concern for homeless and other economically distressed residents of the State of Nevada, to the end that: (a) their
quality of life may be improved, (b) their educational and economic opportunities may be improved, (c) sickness, poverty and crime may be lessened, (d) all

 
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constitutional and human rights of all people are respected and protected, (e) mutual interdependence of all people may be recognized, and (f) the mutual aid
among, by and for poor people may be facilitated.

(3) To provide basic living facilities for otherwise homeless individuals, using temporary, semi-permanent and/or permanent structures, and to engage in
alternative, sustainable, earth-friendly housing development and production and related activities in order to improve the living conditions and economic well-
being of said individuals.

(4) To create an environment of unity, non-violence, self-determination and cooperation that encourages economically distressed residents to pursue their life
goals and aspirations, especially with regard to adequate education, housing and employment, with a sense of self-respect and dignity.

(4) To create an environment of unity, non-violence, self-determination and cooperation that encourages economically distressed residents to pursue their life
goals and aspirations, especially with regard to adequate education, housing and employment, with a sense of self-respect and dignity.

(5) To provide peer-based support services to said residents to assist them in the pursuit and actualization of their life goals and aspirations with regard to
housing, education and work, and to enter into collaborative partnerships with certain private businesses, non-profit organizations and/or government agencies
for such purposes.

(6) To expand the opportunities available to said residents to own, manage, and operate and develop worker-owned and operated enterprises, and to assist said
residents in developing entrepreneurial and management skills for the successful operation of such enterprises.

(7) To do any and all lawful activities which may be necessary, useful, or desirable for the furtherance, accomplishment, fostering, or attainment of the foregoing
purposes, either directly or indirectly and either alone or in conjunction or cooperation with others, whether such others be persons or organizations of any kind
or nature, such as corporations, firms, associations, trusts, institutions, foundations, or governmental agencies, bureaus or departments.

(8) Subject to the limitations stated in the Articles of Incorporation, this corporation may engage in any other lawful activity, none of which are for profit, for
which corporations may be organized under the Nevada Revised Statutes (or its corresponding future provisions) and Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue
Code of 1954 (or its corresponding future provisions).

ARTICLE II

MEMBERSHIP

Section 2.01 -- Members

There shall be voting Members of this Corporation, as provided in these Bylaws.

Section 2.02 -- Eligibility for Membership

Any person 18 years of age or older shall be eligible for voting Membership within the village according to the laws of the State of Nevada, if he or she meets all
of following requirements:

 
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1. has been a resident of Rethink Village for more than fourteen days,

2. has executed an "Admittance Agreement",

3. is a resident in good standing. All members are in good standing, except members who are currently ejected or are on probationary or provisional status, due to
violation of Admittance Agreement or any of its provisions, and

4. has attended at least one membership meeting.

Residents meeting all of these criteria shall be Members of this corporation upon their request, unless or until membership is terminated according to the
provisions of these bylaws.

Section 2.03 -- Initiation of Membership

The Secretary shall certify membership with regard to eligibility in Section 2.02. At least three (3) days prior to all Monthly or Special meetings of the
Membership, the Secretary shall review current and active members on file and record names of current members onto a current membership list. Membership
and voting privileges shall apply at said meetings only to those members thus listed, subject to review by the Village Council at their discretion.

Section 2.04 -- Termination of Membership or Residency

Any Member may terminate membership in the Corporation at any time by giving written notice to the Secretary of the Corporation or by abandoning their
residency/membership for more than 15 days without adequate notification to the Secretary. Such termination shall become effective as of the date of receipt of
written notice by the Secretary, or the end of the 15 day abandonment period, whichever applies.

Anyone, including Members or residents, found to be in violation of the terms and conditions of residency/membership outlined in the Admittance Agreement,
may be ejected from residency in Rethink Village by a Security Coach, a corporate officer, by a majority vote of the Village Council, or a subcommittee of the
Council appointed for that purpose.

Membership of ejected members is automatically suspended for the duration of an ejection (for up to 15 days), and/or terminated (after 15 days) due to
noncompliance with the residency and "good standing" requirements for membership, as provided in Section 2.02.

Members who have terminated their membership, or whose membership has been terminated, may reapply for membership, provided that they are currently in
compliance with all the requirements for membership set forth in Section 2.02. Members who have been terminated for physical violence may not be eligible for
re-admittance.

Members whose membership is terminated due to ejection by a vote at a meeting of the Village Council have no right to appeal the termination, provided: 1)
there was a quorum present at the meeting, and 2) the member under review either attended said Council meeting, or were given reasonable accommodation to
attend in accordance with Sections 4.10 and 4.10.1, and chose not to attend. Members whose membership is terminated or who is ejected by any other means,
such as an emergency meeting without a quorum present, or by a Security Coach or Corporate Officer, may appeal to the Village Council after a "cooling off"
period of up to 24 hours, and the decision of the Council shall be final.

 
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Section 2.05 -- Admittance Agreement:

The Admittance Agreement is a legal contract between Rethink Village and each adult resident, 18 years of age or older, which sets forth the terms and
conditions of residency in the Village, and bestows the privileges of residency and eligibility for membership in the Corporation.

ARTICLE III

MEETINGS OF MEMBERS

Section 3.01 Annual Meeting of Members

Annual meetings of the membership shall be held each year during the month of December, beginning in this year 2001. At each Annual Meeting, the
membership shall designate by election those members to serve on the Village Council in accordance with Sections 4.02 and 4.03. The Chairperson shall present
an annual report on the activities of the corporation for the preceding year.

Section 3.02-- Monthly Meeting of Members

Regular monthly meetings of the Members of the Corporation shall be held for the periodic election of the Village Council members as needed to fill vacancies,
for making decisions about the day-to-day operations of the Village, and for acting on any other such business as may come before such meetings. Membership
Meetings shall consider proposals from members, and may adopt resolutions for the consideration of the Village Council. The Monthly Meeting of Members
shall have primary responsibility for the election of Members to serve on the Village Council. The Membership is empowered to adopt and implement reasonable
policies and strategies designed to encourage broad participation, and equitable and diverse representation to the Council, provided that said policies and
strategies respect the Council’s need for stability and continuity, and provided they are consistent with all other provisions in these by-laws.

Section 3.03 -- Special Meetings of the Members

A special meeting of the Members of the Corporation may be called at any time by order of, 1) the Village Council, 2) or by a petition signed by not less than
twenty-five percent (25%) of the current Members of the Corporation as per the Secretary’s most recent membership list, setting forth the, place, date and time
for such special meeting, and the general nature of the business to be transacted at such meeting. The petition must be received by the Village Council not less
than three (3) days before the date specified in such petition for the calling of such special meeting.

Section 3.04 -- Notice of Annual, Monthly and Special Meetings of the Members

Written notice of each meeting of the Members of the Corporation shall be posted conspicuously in the meeting area of the Village at least seven (7) days before
the day on which such meeting is to be held. The notice shall state the place, day, and hour of the meeting, and it shall state the general nature of the business to
be transacted and (for Special meetings only) by whose request the meeting was called.

 
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Section 3.05 -- Quorums

Twenty percent (20%) of the Members of the Corporation or 10 members, whichever is greater, shall be necessary and sufficient to constitute a quorum for the
transaction of business at all membership meetings, except as otherwise provided in these by-laws. In the absence of a quorum, a majority of the Members
present may, by resolution, adjourn the meeting for the purpose of obtaining a quorum, for a period not exceeding two (2) days.

Section 3.06 -- Voting

Unless otherwise required by law, each Member present shall be entitled to cast one (1) vote on any and all matters for which a membership vote is permitted by
law, including the Articles of Incorporation, or the bylaws of this corporation. At each meeting of the Members, all matters shall be decided by the affirmative
vote of the majority of the Members of the Corporation present at such meeting, except those matters otherwise expressly regulated by statute or by another
specific section of these Bylaws.

Voting for the election of Councilors shall be by secret written ballot.

Voting by proxy shall not be allowed.

Section 3.07 - Record Date for Membership Meeting

The record date for determining those members who may petition to call a special meeting of the members and who shall be eligible to vote at the meeting shall
be the day before notice is posted.

ARTICLE IV

VILLAGE COUNCIL (aka Board of Directors)

Section 4.01 -- Powers

 
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The affairs of the Corporation shall be managed by the Village Council.

Section 4-02 -- Number of Seats on Village Council

The Village Council shall consist of any odd number of not less than three (3) and not more than twenty-five (25) Councilors, said number to be determined by a
Membership Meeting and recorded in the minutes.

Section 4.02.1 Board of Advisors

The Council may appoint up to ten (10) ex officio advisors. Said advisors shall not have voting privileges or hold board positions or office on the Council.

Section 4.03 -- Qualifications of Councilors

All seats on the Village Council must be filled by current Members in good standing who have been members for at least 90 continuous days. If there is not a
sufficient number of members with ninety (90) consecutive days of residency then members closest to completion of the qualifications and who are willing to
serve may be elected.

No persons involved with contracting services, during the term of their contract, may occupy a voting position on the Village Council.

Section 4.04 -- Selection of Village Council members

Members of the Village Council, including members elected to fill vacancies, shall be elected by an Annual, Monthly or Special Meeting of the Membership.

Section 4.05 -- Term of Service on Village Council

Members of the Village Council are elected for one year terms, except for those elected to fill vacancies. Councilors elected to fill vacancies shall serve until the
next Annual Meeting of the Membership. Councilors completing a term of office may run for re-election at the end of their term.

Section 4.06 -- Non-attendance and Vacancies

Any Councilor who misses three consecutive regularly scheduled meetings of the Village Council shall be given a minimum of one week written notice by the
Secretary that the position will be vacated at the next Council meeting unless the member provides written excuse satisfactory to the Council at said meeting. A
vote of the majority of Council members is required to remove the Council member. Vacancies on the Village Council shall be filled as provided in Section 4.04.

Section 4.07 -- Resignation

Any Councilor may resign at any time by written notification to the Chairperson or Secretary of the Corporation. The acceptance of any such resignation shall
not be necessary to make it effective.

 
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Section 4.08 -- Removal

Any Councilor may be removed at any time, with or without cause, by a 2/3 vote of the Members of the Corporation present at a meeting of the Members of the
Corporation, provided that: a) the quorum at a meeting of members in which removal is proposed shall be 35% of the members of the corporation; and b) that the
meeting notice state that the purpose, or one of the purposes, of the meeting is to remove the Councilor.

Section 4.09 -- Annual Meetings

The Annual Meeting of the Village Council for the election of officers and for the transaction of such other business as may properly come before it shall be held
within fifteen (15) days following the date of adjournment of the annual meeting of the Membership. The annual meeting of the Village Council shall be open to
the attendance of Members of the Corporation and the public at large and, shall be conducted in same manner as provided in Section 4.10.

Section 4.10 -- Weekly Meetings

Regular weekly meetings of the Village Council shall be held at a regular time, date, and place selected by the Chairperson. Other meetings may be called as
needed, provided that notice and quorum requirements are met.

All meetings of the Council shall be open to the attendance of all residents and Members of the Corporation and the public at large. Agenda items shall be posted
not less that twenty-four (24) hours in advance of the weekly meetings by the Chairperson. Member or resident participation at Council meetings shall consist of
one three-minute presentation by the member or resident on the subject under consideration by the Council. Members of the Corporation or village residents not
serving on the Village Council, who wish to speak to the Council, shall notify the chairperson prior to the meeting.

Section 4.10.1 -- Emergency Meetings

The Council may call emergency meetings without notice to address issues of violence or other imminent threats to the safety and security of the Village and its
residents.

Emergency meetings may be held at any time when called by order of the Chairperson of the Council, the Security Coordinator, or any officer and five (5)
Councilors, or a majority of Councilors. The entire Council shall be given as much notice by conveners of emergency meetings as is practical in light of the
circumstances.

Conveners of emergency meetings to review actions of individuals, will attempt in good faith to notify said individuals that their behavior is under review,
provided their presence is not disruptive to the meeting or to the village .

Maintaining the safety and security of the Village shall take precedent over the need to notify potentially dangerous individuals, and the Council is under no legal
or other obligation to provide any notice or access whatsoever if, at the Council’s sole discretion, it is deemed dangerous to do so.

Emergency meetings shall only consider or take action on the specific emergency situation that prompted the meeting in the first place.

Section 4. 11 -- Minutes of the Meetings

 
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Records of all meetings of the Village Council and any committees shall be taken by the Secretary, or some other duly designated person present on behalf of the
Secretary, and be made available to the Membership as directed by the Council.

Section 4. 12 -- Notice

Written notice of meetings of the Village Council shall be printed in 36 or larger point typeface and posted in plain view in the Village meeting area, not less than
seven (7) days before the day on which the meeting is to be held. Each such notice shall state the day, time, and place of such meeting. There is no notice
requirement for emergency meetings of the Council.

Section 4.13 -- Quorum

A majority of the Councilors shall constitute a quorum. In the absence of a quorum, a majority of the Councilors present may, by resolution, adjourn the meeting
for a period not exceeding two (2) days.

Section 4.14 -- Voting

At all meetings of the Village Council, except as otherwise expressly required by these Bylaws, all matters shall be decided by the vote of a majority of the
Councilors present at that meeting.

Section 4.15 -- Reports

The Village Council shall present at each annual meeting of the Members of the Corporation an annual report of the Corporation's activities during the preceding
year. Additional reports may be required by vote of the general Membership for the Corporation.

ARTICLE V

OFFICERS

Section 5.01 -- Titles and Qualifications

The Officers of the Corporation shall be Council Members and include a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, and such other officers as may
from time to time be appointed by the Village Council.

Section 5.02 -- Election and Term of Office

 
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Each officer shall be elected by a majority vote of the Village Council at its first meeting and thereafter shall be elected annually, or more frequently as needed to
fill any vacancies, by the Council at its regular, special or annual meetings. New offices may be created and filled at any meeting of the Village Council. Each
such officer shall hold office until the next annual meeting, or until his or her death, resignation, or removal.

Section 5.03 -- Resignations

Any officer may resign at any time by delivering a written resignation to the Chairperson or the Secretary. The acceptance of any such resignation, unless
required by the terms thereof, shall not be necessary to make it effective.

Section 5.04 -- Removal

Any officer may be removed at any time, either, with or without cause, by a vote of a 2/3 majority of the Village Council present at the meeting, provided that the
notice of said meeting shall have specified the proposed removal. Such removal shall apply only to the office being held by said Councilor and not to said
Councilor’s membership on the Council.

Section 5.05 -- Chairperson of the Council

The Chairperson shall call all regular meetings of the Council; make appointments to all committees subject to the approval of the Village Council; conduct all
meetings of the Council and the General Membership; notify the Council of any vacancies; shall set the agenda 24 hours in advance of Council meetings, except
for emergency meetings, and shall have such other powers and duties not inconsistent with these Bylaws as may be assigned to him or her from time to time by
the Village Council.

Section 5.06 -- The Vice-Chairperson of the Council

The Vice-Chairperson of the Council shall act in the absence of the Chairperson, and shall have such other powers and duties not inconsistent with these bylaws
as may be assigned to him or her from time to time by the Village Council.

Section 5.07 -- The Secretary

The Secretary shall keep the records of the minutes of all meetings of the Village Council, and of the Members of the Corporation in a secure place on the
premises of the Corporation in one or more books provided for that purpose, with the time and place of the holding of the meetings, how they were called or
authorized, the notice given thereof, the names of those present, and the proceedings thereof. The Secretary shall be the custodian of all records and documents;
shall keep a list of all current residents and members, and in general shall perform all other duties not inconsistent with these Bylaws, as are incident to the office
of Secretary, or as may be assigned from time to time by the Village Council or the Chairperson of the Corporation.

Section 5.08 -- The Treasurer

The Treasurer shall have charge and custody of and be responsible for all funds and securities of the Corporation. The treasurer, or a delegated member of the
corporation, shall carry out the following
 
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a. Have the care of, receive, and give receipt for the monies due and payable to the Corporation,

b. Deposit all monies received in the name of the Corporation in such banks, trust companies, or other depositories as from time to time may be designated by the
Village Council-,

c. Have charge of the disbursement of the monies of the Corporation in accordance with the directions of the Village Council;

d. Enter regularly in books to be kept by him or her, or under his or her direction for that purpose, a complete and correct account of all monies received and
disbursed by him or her for the account of the Corporation,

e. Render a statement of his or her account to the Village Council at such times as may be requested-,

f. Submit a financial report to the Membership at monthly meetings of the Members of the Corporation,

g. Exhibit the books of account of the Corporation and all securities, vouchers, papers, and documents of the Corporation in his or her custody to any Member
upon written request within a minimum of 24 hours or at the next Village Council meeting.

h. Arrange for audits of the Corporation's financial accounts, and

i. In general, have such other powers and perform such other duties, not inconsistent with these Bylaws, as are incident to the office of Treasurer or as may be
assigned to him or her from time to time by the Village Council.

ARTICLE VI

AMENDMENT OF BYLAWS

Bylaws may be amended or repealed, and new Bylaws may be enacted, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Membership of the Village by means of secret written
ballots. Members may amend the Bylaws, change or repeal amendment of these Bylaws, or change the authorized number of Councilors of the Corporation.

In addition to being posted in accordance with Section 3.04 in the common meeting area, written notice of any proposed amendment to the Bylaws shall be
presented to the Village Council and posted on the residence of every Member at least fifteen (15) days prior to the meeting at which the proposed amendment or
repeal is acted upon.

The Quorum requirement for Membership Meetings considering an amendment of the Bylaws shall be two-thirds (2/3) of the membership.

 
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Appendix
Distance Studio Work

Proposal

Summary Thesis Proposal Outline Thesis Statement:

Kenneth A. Ballard In the city of Las Vegas there is an estimated 14,500 people within the
homeless population. Nevada is the second fastest-growing state in the
nation, the promise of steady work to sustain the casino industry and the
January 14, 2008 booming construction industry has enticed thousands of new residents each
month for the past several years. Although Las Vegas is proud of its low
Program Entry: January, 2007 unemployment rates, no state income tax and inexpensive bountiful food
buffets there is an alarming amount of homeless, the staggering 14,500
Rethinking Homeless Living: homeless equates to nearly all of the 0.68% of Nevadans who are homeless;
ranking the highest in the US and more than double the national average.
...establish a (self -built) community-based living facility where people
living on the streets can have their basic needs met in a stable, sanitary Statistics support that although the Las Vegas homeless population
environment free of violence, drugs and alcohol until they are able to access percentage is more than double the national average, the homeless of Las
(traditional) housing. ~ Dignity Village Vegas have suffered from economical hard times, slowing of the housing
market, and diminishing low-rent housing. A recent survey indicated that 16
Thesis Abstract: percent of the homeless population are employed, 25 percent are veterans,
31 percent are disabled 33 percent have made Las Vegas their home for
The highest concentration of the Las Vegas homeless community is in our over a decade and at least 73 percent have, at a minimum, a high school
downtown district where the Mayor and city council has made a clear and education.
focused effort to not only revitalize downtown and attract tourists, new
business but to eliminate a large number of its citizens. Within a 4 mile I will evaluate how and why a self-built, self-owned homeless community
radius of the core of downtown are 5 shelters. These shelters set out to can better serve the downtown Las Vegas homeless community and lessen
provide the basic of basic needs... shelter for the night, a hot dinner and the financial impact to the city as well as influence the stigma surrounding
assistance to contact other social services. This type of “assisting” the the homeless community...
homeless in Las Vegas follows the same format as most of the nation and
our homeless community is viewed and assessed in the same manner as Framing the Thesis:
those in Los Angles or Miami. Simply to offer an overcrowded,
underfunded, ‘night’ stay only facility is not a ‘be all, end all’ solution to How is the work situated in terms of historical, social or
providing housing for the homeless community. A successful homeless cultural context?
community within the Portland, Oregon area has provided an ownership o Main stream perception of the homeless not
based- model that is self-owned, self-built, self-sustaining, self-governed wanting to be more than they have become.
and relies upon its citizens for the means and methods for continued growth. o What about this type of community can change
This ownership based model does not look at the number of people served the design and function of tradition shelters
in a day, week, month but the number of people that have been re-integrated
back into the main-stream community.
To what other disciplines other than architecture and
design am I looking at during the thesis and research?

 
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o Non architectural/design topics ƒ Do the “proposals to provide” fit within
o Alternative education models that surround the Las Vegas culture and expectations
themselves in ownership of the homeless?
o The principles of Hassan Fathy providing ƒ Are the needs, standards and guidelines
affordable housing built and maintained by the universal to all homeless?
user (community). ƒ Considerations to be aware of?
o Applying principles of developing other ƒ What makes the Portland model
traditional transitional housing for a mainstream successful?
social issue (AA, battered women, foster homes) o Interview the homeless both in and out of
shelters.
Architectural lessons from non architectural ƒ What aspects of a shelter is a turn off.
o Principles of the room/school layouts ƒ How can a sense of ownership define a
o Economical and environmental benefits to a self- space?
built housing/community
o What aspects of the traditional architecture can Building Program:
influence the non-traditional aspects of the self-
built housing/community Examine the methods, aspects, and planning techniques of
Hassan Fathy and how they can be implemented/adapted
How do I see my thesis on terms of its relationship to to an American homeless culture?
practice, where practice is understood as a culturally o Identify local resources
suited activity? o Adapt Fathy’s ideas and techniques to locally
o How can the architect as a planner have a available resources and materials
positive impact on a community where the two o Identify where the principles of Fathy’s design,
typically do not have common interaction? material selection, and overall attitude for
providing architecture for the poor is successful.
Who is the audience...? Examine the role of the Architect during the planning and
o The city planners of Las Vegas oversight of developing a community master plan.
o The homeless o Why the architect should be a voice of advocacy
o The shelters for the homeless for the development of a “self-built” homeless
o Other architects and public figures community... ensuring acceptable, safe, pleasing
and sustainable architecture
o Identify access to the bus system, social services
Methods of Inquiry:
(health, job placement, community centers),
onsite gardening/food source, storage, waste
o Design Inspiration: removal, infrastructure...
o materiality o Cost analysis for the construction of a shelter and
ƒ earth material housing operating costs vs. a self-sustaining, self built
ƒ alternate construction (materials) “shelter” by the homeless
o Case studies of several established self sustained
homeless communities, primarily Dignity
Village.

 
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Technical Issues: ƒ Owner - City of North Las Vegas
ƒ Size: 6 acres
How does the infrastructure work? ƒ Zoned: FWY
o sanitation
o water
o air-condition
o food source
o Cost analysis for the construction of a shelter and
operating costs vs. a self-sustaining, self built
“shelter” by the homeless.

Location of Site:

How can the potential cost of a site be offset by other


funding that is currently in place?
Identify what aspects of site location would best suit the Public Policy:
community at large, the city, local business and the
homeless possible site locations
o Downtown area near Bonanza and the Spaghetti How does rethinking homeless living...?
bowl (I-15 and I-95) o Impact the tourist experience
ƒ Owner: Mesquite Partners, LTD o Cost reduction implications of security personal
ƒ Size: 5.78 acres o Will public parks be reopened
ƒ Zoned: M (Industrial) o Reverse/abandon the ‘no feed law’
o Rethink sense of ownership
o Rethink sense of community (reunite the
community as a whole)
o Rethink affordable housing
o Rethink basic needs
o Rethink social programs

Theory:

What is needed for basic survival?


o Rethink affordable housing
o Rethink basic needs
o Rethink social programs
o Industrial area just North of Downtown near
Losee and Lake Mead along I-15

 
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Intensive One Review – Comments and Responses

Jury Members: Jeff Stein, Ian Taberner


Jeff Stein: Where are services provided, how is food supplied, what Response: My first thought is construction waste from casinos, so... wood
supports the community? and metal framing, typical type 2 and 5 construction materials

Response: These are issues that will answer themselves as I dive deeper into Ian Taberner: Besides Fathy, what other precedents can be studied that can
architectural solutions, but yes I need to be very cogent of these issues and provide answers that can be related to providing homes for homeless
provide answers that are real and meaningful. people? Maybe Taliesin West, students have to build a place to live for the
semester.
Jury Member: What is the inventory of building waste to be used as
building components?

A mixed feeling was left after the final presentation… I had hoped for more of a unanimous outpouring of approval and
willingness to get on board. Although there was a spirited discussion and was stopped short, I felt as though I had made an impact
on the social importance of this project yet failed to convey the importance the role of the architect. In every aspect of life,
someone, a designer; has made a decision that either directly or indirectly impacts us, how we walk up stairs, how we maneuver
through a museum, what it is like to stand in a vast open space and not feel out of place or little. These same feelings and emotions
are praised in nearly every, if not all, pieces of ‘great’ architecture. This is done because architects learn about the subject they are
design for, we become intimate with the users, materials, and emotions. What I propose is no different, I am suggesting that this
same approach can be relayed to providing for the homeless or what some to believe a social problem that can be swept away under
the carpet by thrusting upon the homeless some ‘grand’ building and allowing them to use it for the night and then again at night.
I believe that my next steps need to define what my goals are for Rethink Village, what will be the catalyst for the
architectural solution? Fathy is a good start, but I need to explore other topics, areas of interest and precedents that will provide the
catalyst that I am seeking to send this thesis over the top and provide a permanent foundation for the rest of the process.
 
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Intensive Two Review – Comments and Responses

Jury Members: Curt Lamb, Tom Parks, Jeff Stein, Herb Childress, Ian Taberner
Curt Lamb: Can they [dwellings] be built to acceptable standards? Jeff Stein: How many people will this site, this community serve?

Response: There will be a set of Design standards that will be agreed upon Response: I suspect that there will be enough resources to serve 100- 140
by the City and represent ivies from Rethink Village that will meet the spirit people after the completion of all three phases. However that number is
of the development code. subject to change based on the effectiveness and “release” of individuals
back into mainstream society.
Curt Lamb: How long will it take to build a dwelling and how will one
someone transition from the ‘streets’ to the community? Herb Childress: The site seems to lack a graduation of spaces, there is no
real sense of place yet, what can be done to develop special relations within
Response: I imagine that it would take a construction team a weekend to the site?
construct a dwelling provided all the material are available, but it will take a
build to really answer that. Response: I suspect that that will occur as the site is developed and
community grows up. I will incorporate and better define the communities’
Curt Lamb: Can a social or legal organization be founded as to help drive (Las Vegas) role within the ‘village’, possible activities could be a movie
up support and success of this community? night where revenue could be generated for Rethink Village, a recycling
station, an arts event could also trigger community involvement (Las
Response: Yes, the community in Portland, Oregon has had success with Vegas).
help from the community in various walks of life that assist and partner
with the community to achieve tougher obstacles. Ian Taberner: Is there a design process for each dwelling?
Jeff Stein: Interesting notion to have this type of community build their own Response: There will be a set of design standards that will indicate how a
home dwelling will use certain available materials and setbacks etc.
Response: True, this is not the normal solution to providing accessible Ian Taberner: Should/can amenities be based on local taxes?
housing for the homeless, but I feel the current format is not sufficient in
providing basic needs for extended amounts of time, where as if someone is Response: There would have to great local support for the public to agree to
committed to changing their outlook in life the act of building one’s own use tax dollars
house brings them closer to returning to the mainstream society.

Jeff Stein: How do they [homeless] get services in this community?

Response: this community focuses on building a stable community life and


a sense of ownership. This community will allow other organizations to
focus on what they do best… provide medical treatment, job placement,
deal with substance addictions, etc. Although as the community grows there
will be space provided for services like this to exist.

 
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Power Point Presentation - Slide 2 (image from video,


Power Point Presentation - Slide 1 see CD ROM) Power Point Presentation - Slide 3

Power Point Presentation - Slide 4 Power Point Presentation - Slide 5 Power Point Presentation - Slide 6

 Power Point Presentation - Slide 7 Power Point Presentation - Slide 8 Power Point Presentation - Slide 9
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Power Point Presentation - Slide 10 Power Point Presentation Slide 11 Power Point Presentation - Slide 12

Power Point Presentation - Slide 13 Power Point Presentation - Slide 14 Power Point Presentation - Slide 15

Power Point Presentation - Slide 16 Power Point Presentation - Slide 17 Power Point Presentation - Slide 18
 
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Power Point Presentation - Slide 19 Power Point Presentation Slide 20 Power Point Presentation - Slide 21

Power Point Presentation - Slide 22 Power Point Presentation - Slide 23 Power Point Presentation - Slide 24

Power Point Presentation - Slide 25 Power Point Presentation - Slide 26 Power Point Presentation - Slide 27
 
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Power Point Presentation - Slide 28 Power Point Presentation Slide 29 Power Point Presentation - Slide 30

Power Point Presentation - Slide 31 Power Point Presentation - Slide 32 Power Point Presentation - Slide 33

Power Point Presentation - Slide 34 Power Point Presentation - Slide 35 Power Point Presentation - Slide 36
 
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Power Point Presentation - Slide 37 Power Point Presentation Slide 38 Power Point Presentation - Slide 39

Power Point Presentation - Slide 40 Power Point Presentation - Slide 41 Power Point Presentation - Slide 42

Power Point Presentation - Slide 43 Power Point Presentation - Slide 44 Power Point Presentation - Slide 45
 
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Power Point Presentation Slide 46 Power Point Presentation Slide 47 Power Point Presentation - Slide 48

Power Point Presentation - Slide 49 Power Point Presentation - Slide 50 Power Point Presentation - Slide 51

The difference between the first intensive and this last intensive is that I feel that I have a better grasp of what I am really
trying to accomplish. Unlike after the first intensive review where I was a bit uncertain where this thesis was headed I left the
second intensive with confidence that I could complete what I had set out to ultimately do… provide a viable alternative solution to
providing housing for homeless persons. I don’t ever think that I had set out to design a certain type of unit or building type exactly,
I found myself interested in providing a solution that created a sense of ownership, self-worth, community pride, etc, concepts that
are not necessarily expressed in certain window treatments, conveyed by a certain architectural language.
Through the topics of research and case studies [precedents] chosen I feel that I am more capable of providing a feasible
reliable solution that is capable of being accepted by a community (Las Vegas) and welcomed by the homeless community. As I
prepared myself for the steps ahead, Collect+Design+Build; I am more confident that I will succeed. I am also pleased with the
vivacious discussions that have resulted from my research, approach, and process
 
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Intensive Three Review – Comments and Responses

Jury Members: Curt Lamb, Denise Dea, Herb Childress, Ian Taberner, Classmates

Classmates: Why does the design have two separate spaces? voice of advocacy along with other organizations such as
Habitat for Humanity, the Goodwill, etc that could help
Response: This dwelling was designed with positive progress efforts alongside those of the homeless persons
community and social interaction in mind, in order to promote wanting to develop and be part of Rethink Village.
this idea I felt it necessary to provide a room that would
promote interaction. In nearly all single family houses and Ian Taberner: What can you do to improve this design, to better
apartments there is a common room, a family room; that is enable homeless persons in building their own homes, and
used for social gatherings, this type of use and activity is develop the site to encourage community involvement other
important in developing social skills that will be valuable when than just building homes?
the resident re-integrates back into the main stream society and
there is also a private and secure room for the owner of the unit Response: I suspect with little to no prior experience one could
to sleep and store personal item. build their own home. This is where the architect as a leader
can step in; with the input and direction from the residents,
Curt Lamb: How do you feel about the viability of this develop a series of steps to be followed that would allow for
proposal in Las Vegas after working on this for the past 6 the same result time and time again. I image that there could be
months? several solutions that can respond to the available materials as
wells space requirements and pre-assembled parts for
Response: I feel the success of this proposal depends on two rapid/same day occupancy.
items: Construction feasibility - developing a system that
allows for these homes to be constructed by the homeless with Classmates: In order to facilitate availability and transportation
minimal assistance from the community and Community of materials to the community, could developing a LEEP point
involvement – developing a secure community with section be beneficial?
opportunities for the ‘mainstream’ community to get involved
with Rethink Village as well as developing a method for Response: Once the series of steps has been developed and a
collecting and storing construction materials. In the first work plan, framing plans, details, materials lists, etc has been
review, the possibility for this community to ‘produce’ jobs in developed, those items can be distributed to participating
the areas of construction waste removal, framing labor, etc was companies that would then use them as a ‘shopping list” of
mentioned; and I feel that with the rate of construction and the sorts that would allow for the community to obtain workable
high costs of waste removal that these types of services can and materials and provide much valuable LEED points to a project.
would be used by the construction industry in Las Vegas. In
order to see these two items through I feel it important that this
project would require the right kind of leadership, the role of Curt Lamb: Is this dwelling habitable in the hot Las Vegas
the architect as a leader in the construction process as well as a climate?
 
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Response: Yes. The temperatures that we encountered when Response: I agree, and while researching and visiting Dignity
building this living unit well exceeded 112 degrees and once Village in Portland I realized that the residents put a lot of
the roof/wall sheathing and finish materials made their way on stock into their self-built, self-governed community, so much
it dramatically reduced the temperature by an easy 15-20 that they have developed, with outside support and counsel, a
degrees. set of incorporated bylaws, a code of conduct and application
process that is strictly enforced. I plan to include examples of
Curt Lamb: Although not directly part of the architectural the same type of language that Rethink Village would adopt
solution, this project deserves some thought as to how and adhere to.
community issues are addressed and what can be expected as to
prevent this community from becoming a dangerous, filthy,
drug infested area?

 
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Power Point Presentation - Slide 1 Power Point Presentation - Slide 2 (image from video, Power Point Presentation - Slide 3
see CD ROM)

Power Point Presentation - Slide 4 Power Point Presentation - Slide 5 Power Point Presentation - Slide 6

Power Point Presentation - Slide 7 Power Point Presentation - Slide 8 Power Point Presentation - Slide 9
 
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Power Point Presentation - Slide 10 Power Point Presentation Slide 11 Power Point Presentation - Slide 12

Power Point Presentation - Slide 13 Power Point Presentation - Slide 14 Power Point Presentation - Slide 15

Power Point Presentation - Slide 16 Power Point Presentation - Slide 17 Power Point Presentation - Slide 18
 
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Power Point Presentation - Slide 19 Power Point Presentation Slide 20 Power Point Presentation - Slide 21

Power Point Presentation - Slide 22 Power Point Presentation - Slide 23 Power Point Presentation - Slide 24

Power Point Presentation - Slide 25 Power Point Presentation - Slide 26 Power Point Presentation - Slide 27
 
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Power Point Presentation - Slide 28 Power Point Presentation Slide 29 Power Point Presentation - Slide 30

Power Point Presentation - Slide 31 Power Point Presentation - Slide 32 Power Point Presentation - Slide 33

Power Point Presentation - Slide 35 Power Point Presentation Slide 36


Power Point Presentation - Slide 34
 
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Power Point Presentation - Slide 37 Power Point Presentation - Slide 40

The process of defining the site and creating a community from a concept of reusing construction waste and unskilled labor with and
for homeless developed into adapting these concepts, visions and desire into a building. I found that, like the build, I entered the
review with some doubt about how this work would be received and as I moved deeper into the presentation, just like the build, people
on the sideline became engaged with the presentation, the following discussion and ultimately wanting to become part of the solution.
I realized that this project meant something different to everyone that came into contact with it. For some classmates it was a
reexamination of how our profession can be more involved in the community outside the direct path of architecture and we can be
used as a tool within our community, while others seemed to be interested in how LEED could be used to assist both this type of
community as well as provide opportunities to obtain LEED points for a project while truly living the spirit of LEED. Instructors and
staff found value in the attempt to solve an issue in the context of an academic setting, using analytical and practical solutions that
architectural schools strive to develop in their students while creating a document that could be used as a viable and important part of
a presentation to the City of Las Vegas or other cities as a ‘how to guide’ for starting a community like Rethink Village. While I took
away; among other things, what it takes/means to be able to execute, demonstrate and convey a concept, design or way of thinking to
others that may not, at first, understand what I as an architect am asking of others. Whether it is a design idea, a method used to detail
connections, teaching someone how to communicate with building departments, responding to construction questions or simply just
working with people and listening to what it is that will a the best for them. Self worth, self respect, learning new trades (ideas), and
stepping outside a comfort level to make a difference is what I took away from this experience.

 
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Appendix
Various Texts

Emails

Below is a selection of emails during the Thesis process. These emails have provided information, insight and direction. As I progressed towards
completion the following emails will pushed me along, refocused my efforts, and really helped me rethink homeless living.

On Tue 4/22/2008 11:35 AM, Woody LaBounty wrote:

Ken,

I'll forward your email to earthquake shack expert Jane Cryan. She's retired from the business, having dedicated a couple of decades to researching and saving
refugee shacks, but you might get lucky and she'll feel inspired to find some numbers for you.

Type A shacks were 10 x 14, and I think Jane said only about 500 were built.

Type B shacks were the most prevalent and I think they were about 14 x 18.

Type C's measured 18 x 24, I think? Just a couple of them survive today.

The fourth size I think were more in the style of barracks, but Jane would be better able to tell you on that.

Overall, 5,610 refugee cottages were constructed. A couple of hundred were burned or broken up, but the rest were hauled off to be new homes when the camps
closed.

Good luck with your thesis!

Woody LaBounty

Western Neighborhoods Project

www.outsidelands.org

On Apr 20, 2008, at 5:07 PM, Kenneth Ballard wrote:

Woody,

Thanks for taking time to talk to me on your Sunday afternoon. As I mentioned, I am working on my Thesis at the Boston Architectural College in Boston,
Ma. The title of my thesis is, "Rethinking Homeless Living". As a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, I feel that there is a delinquency in how our homeless
community is viewed and through my thesis I plan to offer non-traditional suggestions to help the situation.

Through my research I ran across your name and organization (WNP) and the earthquake cottages. From what I have seen and read, these cottages would
make a great case study for my research as well as how the lives of the fire refugees improved and progressed. As you mentioned, as well as from what I have

 
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been able to gather, there were four types/sizes to these cottages; I have only been able to determine the 10x14 model. If you have access to or knowledge of the
other models and approximately how many of each type were built that you be great help. I have also been wondering if there are accounts of how many of each
type were distributed among the several campsites or if these camps consisted of only one type? The simple construction and local materials used interest me
very much as I plan to develop a strategy that involves local construction waste material as well as natural resources in the construction of individual homes for a
number of the homeless in the Las Vegas area.

Once again thanks for your time. The below link is to my main blog for my thesis, if you would like more info or like to track the progress... the blog is a bit
behind my progress, but will be updated shortly as I near another session at the BAC: http://kab-3-thesis.blogspot.com/

Ken Ballard

On Tue 5/6/2008 7:51 PM, Jane Cryan wrote:

Hi Ken,

Thank you very much for your email. I visited your blog and was quite impressed. You have undertaken a monumental, very important project!

Was the Fact Sheet I sent enough info about the Shacks? In 1999 I gave all my research papers and realia to the History Center at San Francisco's Main Library
so I have nothing with me except the Fact Sheet and the books I wrote on disk. I gave copies of the books, which have not been published but have been and
continue to be widely quoted, to the History Center. Most SF historians self-publish and I was just not into that. If you thought it would be helpful to you, I could
email you a copy of the main book.

The Library (sfpl.org I think) has written and placed a summary of my donation on the web. If you Google "1906 Earthquake Refugee Shacks" the library site
will pop up and you can view the contents and the librarian's comments about the collection.

You may be interested in knowing that in 1988 I was contacted by an architecture student from U.C. Berkeley -- Sergio Amunategui -- who did his Master of
Architecture thesis on the subject of the Shacks. He engaged me as his imaginary client and designed a residence for me (using an actual vacant lot in SF)
composed of 22 refugee shacks. The name of Sergio's thesis is: Shelter, Dwellings, and Metamorphosis: Adaptations of the 1906 Earthquake Refugee Shelter in
A Single Family Dwelling. The thesis is dated May 23, 1989. Sergio is now a famous architect in his native Santiago, Chile. He is Googleable and I believe you
can get an email address for him in one of the many blurbs that pop up with his name or his work mentioned.

Do let me know if there is anything else I can share with you.

Regards, Jane C

 
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On Mon 5/26/2008 2:24 PM, Janz, Wes wrote

Ken,

Thanks for contacting me.

It looks like you're attempting a very interesting project, an important project. I'm happy to make some quick comments, based on a quick review of your boards
and a skimming of some of your writing. In this spirit, I might say something not appropriate or off the mark. If so, please, take no offense, and/or understand
that this is a quick response.

First, and most important, I want to say it is so great that you're engaging in these topics and questions. I get so much inspiration and energy from the great
questions and passions of many of my students these days. And I very much want to say THANK YOU for bringing me into your curiosities. It's a real privilege
to engage someone so determined to ask some difficult questions of our society, and of himself.

I'll make a few critical comments -- don't take these as being personal, please. Rather, you're touching on, or maybe you're not touching on, some ideas and
approaches that seem important to me these days. So, in a sense, with your own work I have a chance to be more critical of my own ideas and perspectives.

I can appreciate your analysis of Fathy and Newman . . . that's fine, their principles, all that. I guess, as you say, it's both dated and timeless, and I understand
this.

Still, who else today is thinking about the architectures of squatters or informal settlers or streetpeople? Robert Neuwirth in Shadow Cities. Urban Think Tank
in Informal City. The book World Changing. David Adjaye in Making Public Buildings. Marjetica Potrc's Urgent Architecture. The book Portable
Architecture. Zero Yen Houses by Kyohei Sakaguchi. Micro Architecture by Kiyoko Semba and Kesaharu Imai. Bryan Bell's Good Deeds, Good Design.
Tadashi Kawamata's Dwellings project. The first few chapters of Howard Davis's Culture of Building. Teddy Cruz's work in the Border Zone at Chula
Vista/Tijuana. Sidewalk by Duneier.

There's quite a bit out there these days, and it's important because it is both timeless and NOW, in that it is looking at our cities and the difficult lives some
people live in cities today, their unique qualities and energies and potentials. This is very different than rural Egypt, a World's Fair site in 1967, New York circa
1970.

I value history, believe me. Still, in this area, what you call the homeless, or the poor, I think we especially need to be current. Now. Today. There's just no
denying this need.

And it's interesting to me that your review of Fathy and Newman includes diagrams, plans, sections, etc., this is architecture that you know how to analyze. But
nothing of the sort when talking about Dignity Village. Why no site plan? No building plans? No building sections? I understand if you say, well Wes, they
don't exist. Still, if you really are trying to understand Dignity Village, you might at least try to create a similar line of analysis -- maybe you create a kind of
conditional set of architectural drawings for a few of the buildings, for which there are photographs. I haven't GoogleEarthed Dignity Village; does anything
exist? Again, why do Fathy and Newman and Safdie get to have "principles" and the squatters don't? Why no comparable analysis of the cities, neighborhoods,
and dwellings of self-builders? I assure you, they too design and build defensible space, they too have local construction knowledge, they too understand the
heat of the Sun, they too share urban space and design accordingly.

In my work, I'm arguing that we have much to learn from the self-planners and self-builders. A challenge becomes how to see and share such "principles."
Plans? Sections? Maybe what a "principle" is needs to be rethought. Or, maybe you figure out how to analyze Dignity Village first and use that methodology or

 
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line of questioning to analyze works by Fathy and Newman. I mean, why do we always always privilege designers even as we talk about the need to create "self-
built/self-governed/self-sustained" communities and architectures? Just this week I've started thinking about how almost everything we do is "designer-centered
design" even as we talk about populations and people who obviously know what they're doing as they create their own home and neighborhood and community
every day. Every day. I'm not saying your wrong, more I'm trying genuinely to understand this phenomena.

In a similar way, your site analysis, also, is reliant on such known tools. Wind, sun angles, views, site history, and the like. Again, I understand this, I appreciate
these tools. Still, I wonder if your particular project cries out for something else? Again, I don't have the answer for you, can't name a set of drawings for you to
do, but I do wonder what else might be considered.

"Design for the poor" . . . I don't know about such an approach. I think this use of the word "for" is problematic . . . why not "by" or "with," just for example?
Why are we so interested in providing something for someone we think needs our help? We can ask the same question of Habitat for Humanity, or Architecture
for Humanity, or the "Design for the other 90%" show at the Cooper Hewitt last summer. Fundamentally, this suggests to me that whatever it is we do is still
ours, and not theirs. We'll still wonder, in the future, why what it is we did for them is unappreciated, maybe even unused.

And as long as we keep saying "the poor," well, immediately this is a category filled with preconceptions, our own values, and more. "Homeless" too, by its very
nature, points out a deficiency in a group or a person. I mean, why do we do this? Why do we create a category for a group of our fellow citizens and give it and
them a name that points out what they don't have? How would you like this if it was done to you over and over and over and over. And of course, all "homeless"
people do have homes -- they live in shelters, in assisted-living apartments, in a car, under a bridge, etc., etc. I'm not saying this casually . . . these are realities.
Again, the point is, they do have "homes." So why do we, why do you, call them "homeless"? Saying it's easy, or everybody does it, or everybody understands
what you mean, isn't a good answer. Such a title keeps you from actually understanding who a person is or who people are.

These days, I'm referring to an article written by Margaret Crawford about twelve years ago: "Can Architects be Socially Responsible?" in the book Out of Site,
as edited by Diane Ghirardo. After a long analysis of the profession and several historical case studies, Crawford says no, architects can not be socially
responsible. First, practitioners are too concerned with economics -- deadlines, budgets, marketing, clients, all of that -- what she calls compromised action.
Second, professors are too comfortable in the classroom talking about social responsibility, but doing nothing else, what Crawford terms esoteric inaction.

However, she makes two suggests: biography and available materials. That is, get to know real, local people in-need. Spend some time with people in a
retirement community, a soup kitchen, a residential facility for persons recently released from prison, with illegal immigrants, in a disaster-relief setting. Get to
know somebody. And work with what you have at hand, don't wait for some utopian scheme or proposal or material (see Safdie's Habitat, just for example).

In this . . . I'd say I very much appreciate your intentions and as it is, you're doing good work. Still, you're keeping the subjects at a distance (too much reliance
on old guys in your analysis, too much reliance on conventional tools in your analysis), when really you need to get to know any one or two people. Talk to one
guy on five different days. One single mother for two hours. Work at a soup kitchen one day a week for the entire semester. I absolutely absolutely guarantee
you, no doubt, that this will change your thinking and your project. And your life.

Your project is about real people, right? Living difficult lives, right? Who, I argue, have much more to teach us than we have to offer them. As Crawford says,
these are "ideal clients." So . . . tell me about him, her, or them.

To put this differently, you're doing a great job. Really, you are. You've analyzed some well known precedents and positions (Fathy and Newman), you're a
good writer, you have a very strong skill set when it comes to visual communication, and you've done a very good job with your site analysis. In a sense, no one
can argue with any of this -- you're good.

 
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So . . . I say to talented and committed people like yourself . . . we need help as we shift our attention to the billion or so informal settlers and squatters and
streetpeople of the world. We architects are so used to designing for the middle and upper classes, so used to designing important buildings, so used to the "we
need to educate the clients to appreciate our design" rhetoric of architectural schools and offices, that we need brave, probably young people to show us some
new ways, some new lives, some new knowledge, some new approaches.

This is you. We need you.

Be confident and proud of your abilities and talents. Now . . . set that aside, go out and talk to somebody real, look around to find what you can build with now,
and then use your talents, then rekindle your professional responsibility on their behalf, and yours.

Yes?

Let me know if I can be of further assistance, or if I can clarify any of these thoughts.

Here's two relevant blogs:


http://view-sidewalk.blogspot.com/
http://thehomelessguy.blogspot.com/

And thanks again for asking. It's great to know about your work. Keep me posted.

Wes.

On May 25, 2008 7:55 PM, Kenneth Ballard wrote:

Hello Dr. Janz,


I will start by introducing myself, my name is Kenneth Ballard, I live in Las Vegas, NV, where I completed my undergraduate studies at the School of
Architecture at UNLV. I continue to live in work in Las Vegas, and in January of 2006 I applied at the BAC (Boston Architectural College) as a candidate for a
Master’s in Architecture. BAC has introduced a new format for obtaining a Master’s degree in architecture that revolves around a distance education program
and I am part of the first 13 person cohort in this program. I am currently working on my thesis at the BAC and am currently preparing to go back to Boston at
the end of the week for a schematic review of my thesis progress as to date.
My thesis surrounds providing a community of homeless persons in Las Vegas a community that is self-built/self-governed/self-sustained. The
research has lead me to developing the idea of creating a community that is defined in vernacular architecture and constructed primarily of construction waste.
Las Vegas is very active in the construction industry yet lacks the desire to respond responsibility to the homeless population problem we face. The opportunities
to reuse the thousands of tons of building construction and demolition waste seems to be a responsible and alternative way to address Las Vegas’ homeless
problems in a non-traditional approach.
During my research I have come across your “one small project” website and the work surrounding that research. I have found this to be very helpful
and inspiring to my thesis. I would like and appreciate it very much if you could find some time in your very active schedule to look at my blog and possibly
respond to the approach that I have taken thus far. The included link will take you to my current blog: http://kab-3-thesis.blogspot.com/

Thank you for the work that you have done, it is greatly appreciated source to those of us that struggle to solve housing needs for those who need it.
Ken Ballard

 
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Various Texts

Blog Posts

re-introduce or shun away (Posted by Ken Ballard at Friday, November 23, 2007)

Poll Question:

There is always the debate of whether or nor the homeless want to again be part of main stream society? To
many, the homeless are "their own people" and if they had not made their own bad decisions they would not be
homeless. The main stream society pays little attention to the homeless except during the holiday seasons. Many
donate to the Goodwill, Salvation Army or help out in a soup kitchen, it is societies way to make sure they are
taken care of; however during the rest of the year we either shun them or pretend to care by starting groups and
organizations or raising money that will dictate their lives, meals, education, decisions. This leads me to the
poll... I start to wonder how many people think the majority of homeless want help, if they want help at all, or is
it one type of homeless that wants help? Please take a few moments to think this over and vote.

2 comments:
rbutera said... 3/1/08

Ken, this is great question to ask of the homeless. I am not sure how to answer the poll though. I think the audience that the poll is directed to is askew. I would think that
a survey of the homeless would be more productive (albeit more work to obtain). Or are you simply curious to the non-homeless perception of the homeless?

Ken Ballard said... 3/1/08

Hey there Rick...

The intent of the poll is to simply and quickly determine how "non-homeless" perceive the homeless, more precisely if "we" believe that the majority of the homeless
want to be helped.

Thanks for seeing the next steps... I do plan on conducting a survey with homeless and once again later on running this poll again and then using the results in a
comparative manor. I feel that I need a control poll that gets "real opinion" (less informed) first and then a more informed opinion.

I want a larger sampling, maybe I should hold a caucus to get better results... or I can just extend timeline.

 
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Progressions of Beginning Ideas  (Posted by Ken Ballard at Tuesday, January 15, 2008)

"I always say that we benefit more from failure than from successes. Failure makes us consider every aspect of a situation, but success has certain hidden dangers
which when repeated on a larger scale become a disaster. Only by knowing the mistakes in an idea can you find a solution to it and save it from the beginning”.
~ Hassan Fathy, Abiquiu, 1984

Thoughts as I prepare for the August Intensive (Posted by Ken Ballard at Monday, August 04, 2008)

The previous post includes pics I have taken… the video is way too large to upload… but I will have some sort of time lapse video of the build in my
presentation. I have not started to break down these pictures in any type of analytical form, but I plan to get to that this weekend. I want to be able to defend the
necessity for this build. As I shared with my thesis instructor last week I have had reserve about my chosen process since I have been back from the June
intensive.

Part of me feels that I have gone off on a sideways tangent yet the larger part of me knows that I had to go through this process, this build to better understand
what it is that I am asking of the Las Vegas homeless community to do. If you will, I think that I have found a major part of my methods and inquiries…. I need
to know and completely understand what it will take to build my house… what I am and not willing to do for a stable community life and home, what part of this
process needs to be aided by persons with experience, what type of community involvement can be expected. How will I (Rethink Village) be able to collect
materials, store materials, inventory materials, allot materials for a desired amount of buildings to serve the community?

I suspect that in order for me to realize this project there needs to be a clear set agenda for the community, with a time line for benchmarks as well as a set of
standards and regulations with consensuses for the residents of Rethink Village in order for the community and Las Vegas officials to get onboard. I will spend
some time this week working on these items that I will be able to present during the August Intensive. I realize that prior to the development of Rethink Village
getting to the actual construction of the living units and a group of individuals to inhabit them there must be an action plan. Many times these action plans are
realized from other agencies, organizations and community groups, however; in order for me to offer up such a progressive method of housing a population of
homeless, I must be able to demonstrate how order, social implications, and accountability will be met.

Back to the build and my process….

I have been building for several hours now (stretched out over 9 days and counting…). Someone from the last intensive asked how long I expect one of these
units would take to construct… my reply was, “I don’t know, but I expect one could complete a unit in a weekend.” It appears that it will take me 30 – 40 hours,
but the second, third, fourth and so on would take a weekend each to complete to a point that one could move in. The level of completeness I expect that would
allow someone to move in would be:
• foundation,
• framed walls,
• roof,
• roof material,
• exterior wall siding,
• secure entry door,
• secure window openings,
• some sort of interior wall finish (possible insulation, wall board, drywall, adobe mud,
• electrical wiring for the unit (final connection to power would be by licensed electrician when available)

 
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The build and storage of materials started out in my side yard… and as I started to build the truss component and move onto laying out the footprint it soon came
clear to me that I needed another spot. My wife and I packed up materials (what we could get in one load) and moved the build site to her Aunt’s house (the
property owner of the subject site was not as willing to let us build on the site or even move the living unit there to take pictures once completed… there were
warranted concerns about liability and what not). Here we were able to stack and inventory the materials we brought over and continue to inventory materials as
we brought then over (the allocated area I had in mind for the storage yard will provide ample room for collected materials and assembled parts, i.e. walls, etc).

Tonight I plan to have the roof and some wall sheathing on. The rest of the week I hope to be able to get through the exterior siding, some drywall hung, the
electrical outlet installed, coverings for the windows (some small actual windows). This weekend I plan to be working on a series of items that will include:
• cost analysis of the materials I was able to collect, have donated, and purchased,
• evaluate the method of construction and identify more productive methods/use of materials/shapes,
• show value of proper tools (a list of bare essentials and a want/wish list of power tools),
• man hours per living unit,
• proper ways to accumulate/collect materials and supplies

Preparing slides for the August Intensive:


I plan to develop a format that explains all the items listed above. To show the level of completeness of these living units I plan to have details, some sort of
modeling, and pictures in a format that is reminiscent of a “how to” book. In conjunction to these slides there will pictures and statics of community involvement;
availability, process, skill level required/age level appropriate tasks.

To better explain certain feasibility aspects of this community, more specifically the construction of the living units, a series of graphs, studies, lists and
illustrations that will serve as visual aids to the process and feasibility.

What I plan to bring to this coming intensive is a package that analyses and demonstrates how Rethink Village can be implemented and meet the goals of reusing
the leftovers/discarded construction waste (construction principles/concepts gathered from Fathy), define defensible spaces (concepts gathered from Newman),
and embrace the vernacular style that together will help unite, reconcile and integrate a former homeless population into an active role in Las Vegas.

 
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Resume

 
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