Framlab’s 3D-Printed Micro-Neighborhoods: Sheltering the Homeless

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NYC-Based Framlab Wants to Start a Housing Project Called “Homed” To Solve Growing Homeless Problem in the City

New York City is just one example where the homeless population is a big concern – and it continues to grow, not just in the city, but all over the world. There are statistics that have shown that there are close to 61,000 people without a home in the Big Apple, and they resort to sleeping in homeless shelters to get out of the weather. The number of homeless in the city has reached its highest since the Great Depression circa the 1930s.

The heartbreaking reality of this is that the shelter system in the city is at its maximum capacity and that system is having a hard time trying to offer shelter that is safe, clean, and comfortable.

This is where the creative agency, Framlab, comes into play. The agency proposes a solution to this growing problem by creating 3D-printed micro-neighborhoods that are affixed to the blank side of  buildings in the city.

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The project is called “Homed” and although creating a solution to the city’s homeless problem is incredibly complex, Framlab believes it boils down two simple actions:

  1. Create more low-income housing for those in need.
  2. Bolster existing housing assistance programs to reduce the rate of evictions.

Framlab’s plans suggests that the blank side of tall buildings can be utilized as a new location for housing for the homeless, which will be 3D-printed honeycomb-shaped pods. These pods will connect to scaffolding structures that are erected next to the building. The scaffolding will provide the homeless with a versatile space to live.

The pods will be made from steel and oxidized aluminum and the construction (and deconstruction) of a single pod can take only a few days. The best part is, the pods can serve as year-round shelter. The inside of the pods will be made from 3D-printed plastic that will be covered in wood. The design would allow for furnishings, cabinets, and other equipment to be included without the need of extra accessories. The face of the pod will feature smart glass that allows for art installations or commercials to be screened on a cluster of pods.

While the project does seem quite ambitious, the creators of the project believe that by installing these pods will not be able to remove the problem entirely. “The massive extent and complexity of the situation requires work on a broad regulatory and policy-making level. But, it is critical that the design community is part of the process.”

To find out more about Homed, please visit Framlab’s article about the project, here.


The inside of an honeycomb pod can be outfitted with furniture, equipment, and cabinetry to make the space comfortable.


The Homed system would let cities to use real land that would be challenging or expensive to develop because the pods would attach to scaffolding on the empty side of existing buildings.


The pods can be constructed and deconstructed quickly within a few days if the need presented itself.


The front facade of the pods would feature Smart Glass, which could turn the pods into pieces of an art installation, or advertisements.


The honeycomb pod has a floor to ceiling wall and the interior can be customized for the needs of the dweller.

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