Design contributes to how we see our cities and, through its connection with function, it determines how we live within our cities. This book provides insight into one aspect of the interconnection: the design and function of shelters for homeless individuals. It evolved out of an applied research project—a fusion between the disciplines of environmental design and social work—that sought to better appreciate design possibilities for a homeless shelter in downtown Calgary, Alberta Canada. But through a deeper analysis, a broader story emerged.
The authors found little scholarship on the question of how to design and plan shelters for homeless people, so they undertook their own research by analyzing 63 shelters in 25 cities in Canada, the US, and the UK. The principles that began to emerge were not only useful to the authors’ work in Calgary, but also could be helpful to people interested in the design of homeless shelters in general. These two things—the specifics as to Calgary and the more general principles that emerge in relation to Calgary and those precedents beyond it—are the main subject matter of this book.