Emergency House Plans


 Just six weeks after Hurricane Katrina, New Urbanists gathered on the devastated Gulf Coast for the Mississippi Renewal Forum. With nearly 200 design team members, this was probably the largest planning event in human history. The architecture team was composed almost entirely of New Urban Guild members, and several of them had already been working on designs they called "Katrina Cottages," which were originally conceived as "FEMA trailers with dignity." They were also intended to be lovable enough and durable enough that they would still be there a hundred years from now, rather than getting pulled out in 18 months like FEMA trailers.

After the Forum, a number of Guild architects generated working drawings for their designs, completely at their own expense. Funding to support Katrina Cottage designs, if it ever came, would clearly be months or years in the future. But the need was great, and so we didn't wait. Just two months after the Forum, in mid-December, there were enough completed designs for us to begin assembling this book. By early spring, the book was done.

Because there was no funding but the need was so great (they are Emergency House Plans, after all,) we printed this book on paper resembling newsprint, and with a staple binding. It might remind you more of a really big brochure rather than a book, but the Katrina Cottage designs are accompanied by lots of useful stuff including several pages of FEMA standards.

One other thing… the price on the back of the book says $3.95, while the Amazon price is $9.95. Originally, we were selling them for $3.95 plus shipping, but there was such great demand that we literally couldn’t get the orders out. Amazon charges us nearly $6 to sell and ship them, so we’re still making about $3.95 per book, and book purchasers are still paying about the same, once you count shipping because Amazon can ship for much less than we could.

© New Urban Guild 2017