BOXED LIFE

At Issue: Architecture students build village of scrap material to better appreciate improvised shacks of homeless

As part of the architecture studio project "Leftover Space, Leftover Materials, Leftover People," architecture students are building shelters out of scrap material in an effort to better understand what it is like to be homeless in a large city.

"This place has no name," said architecture professor Wes Janz, who is supervising the activity. "We're east of Pruis, next to the parking garage, but it's rare for people to walk through here and look up."

That's exactly what happens to homeless people.

It seems an entire campus -- not just one department -- could learn from this.

Ever go to a major city and see a homeless person? Do you give away your spare change when one asks for it?

Have you ever considered how bold it really is to walk up to a complete stranger and ask for spare change?

Think for a moment. By not noticing what these architecture students are doing, we may be perpetuating the same tendency of overlooking the less fortunate in society. The rest of us may be able to take a closer look at the project and learn something about the world and ourselves.

Perhaps the next time we see a homeless person living in a humble shack, we'll pay closer attention.

The place may not have a name -- but it should be recognized as a learning tool that transcends departmental boundaries and gives us all a lesson about society.


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