After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward, one resident called the destruction indescribable – even compared with his experience as a Vietnam War veteran. Although the Katrina survivor wants to come home, he says "there’s nothing to come back to.”
Katrina displaced thousands of people and ruined billions of dollars of property. Although more than eight years have passed, the Lower 9th Ward is still struggling to rebuild its community. Out of 14,000 people, only 3,000 have returned; properties are still vacant, and the remains of houses speckle the landscape.
Clearly, there exists an entire population of displaced Americans, and our institutions have failed them. One question remains: How can we take an active and effective role in rebuilding this once vibrant community?
Apparatus X is a redesigned RV with the following goals:
· Provide an adaptable tool trailer that can expand into a construction workspace;
· Function as a mobile design studio;
· Serve as a highly efficient mobile living unit that will exemplify sustainable living; and,
· Empower and engage communities in need.
Apparatus X in its fully expanded form
Your donation will help fund the Apparatus X prototype, which will travel to the Lower 9th Ward upon completion. After its arrival, its workshop will allow Aaron, our design leader, to aid in the physical rebuilding of the community. Its expandability will also create a makeshift community center, fostering an open environment that is crucial to long-term education and development.
Designed specifically for the needs of the Lower 9th Ward, Apparatus X has three sections:
· The expandable WORK SPACE offers multiple work surfaces and a wide variety of tools, allowing Apparatus X to transform an empty lot into a construction site;
· The FLEX SPACE functions as a social space, encouraging collaboration and community design; and,
· The LIVE SPACE allows the emergency relief team to live among the disaster victims. By becoming trusted community members, the team will be better able to support and empower the affected area.
Apparatus X will exist completely off-grid once it reaches its destination. The highly efficient food, water, and power systems function almost entirely self-sufficiently, as described below.
FOOD:Apparatus X will include a “Garden-in-a-Box,” which is a do-it-yourself kit for starting a garden. Wherever Apparatus X goes, it can easily provide everything the community needs to enjoy a sustainable and healthy source of food.
A rainwater collection and purification system, combined with a water recycling system, creates a nearly completely closed loop. Water used for hygiene will later be used to clean tools, water the garden, and so on.
An array of solar panels will produce 2000 watts, enough to power a small home. This ensures that even in areas without access to power, emergency relief teams can still charge power tools and access safe, reliable shelter.
Although your donation will specifically support our New Orleans-bound prototype, we envision an entire fleet of Apparatus X emergency relief vehicles. Not only will they be perfect first-responders, since they can provide basic needs like food, water, and power, but they will also provide long-term relief rebuilding damaged communities.
Ultimately, your donation will help develop our prototype, but beyond that, it will help us revolutionize disaster relief in a way that is sustainable, mobile, and effective.
We have the tools, willpower, and expertise to build Apparatus X, but we currently don’t have the funds. We’ve earned $6,000 in sponsorships from IBM, Boeing, and various competitions, but we still need more funding to make it to New Orleans.
If you support our project, you’ll receive an exclusive reward that reflects your contribution to disaster victims. The award levels are listed below, and remember -- perks are cumulative, so each donation level includes every level before it!
In addition to benefiting people affected by Hurricane Katrina, your donation will also help a diverse team of students enrich their academics with real-world experience. Designing and constructing Apparatus X will offer future designers the meaningful work they need to kick-start an entire career of social and ethical responsibility.
The team leader of Apparatus X is Aaron Wertman, a graduate student studying Architecture. Aaron visited the Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans last year, and was shocked by the parallels between an American community and a developing country. As an architect, Aaron decided to design a solution for the people of New Orleans. He wanted to join the community and teach them the skills they needed to rejuvenate the Lower Ninth Ward. Thus, his idea of a mobile design studio evolved into today’s designs for Apparatus X.
Aaron is collaborating with an organization called Engineers for a Sustainable World, a club that seeks to solve complex problems with green solutions. These students have experience designing and building solar panel systems, and are at the helm of Apparatus X’s sustainability initiative.
In addition to Aaron and Engineers for a Sustainable World, a number of additional Architecture, Engineering, and Agricultural Science students have joined the team, designing and building functional components of the vehicle.
OUR NON-PROFIT PARTNER:
In creating Apparatus X, we've partnered with a non-profit organization called the Lower 9th Ward Village. This organization was created in response to Hurricane Katrina, and it's committed to redeveloping the community.
As described in its mission statement, "The Lower 9th Ward Village is a community center that serves as a hub where all community members can access or create essential resources to empower themselves, be self-sufficient, become whole after Katrina and beyond, and sustain an equitable quality of life."
Mack, the Executive Director, is very excited for the Apparatus X project to grow in harmony with the Lower 9th Ward Village, and he's greatly anticipating its arrival. "This can't come soon enough," he says; "It's a great idea, and it needs to be here."
We have an incredible opportunity to change the lives of people who need it most. There are only twenty of us, but there are thousands of generous contributors like you. Please support us as we help the Lower 9th Ward Village and thousands of displaced Americans rebuild one of the most historical, culturally vibrant, and thriving communities in New Orleans.
For more information about Apparatus X, please check us out at www.apparatus-x.com