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Disaster Housing Gets A Surprising Makeover In New York City (PHOTOS)

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When you think about your surroundings during a natural disaster, style isn't ever likely to come to mind. Thankfully, New Yorkers, the Office of Emergency Management has done the thinking for you, unveiling a housing unit designed to ride out relief efforts when the next "superstorm" hits. And to our surprise, it's quite stylish.

First, a little backstory: Last year, a report released by the Department of Homeland Security revealed ongoing criticism against the accommodations traditionally used to house residents displaced by natural disasters. In addition to their unappealing aesthetic, the 64-foot long, 14-feet wide FEMA-run trailers, have posed a number of concerns for those who often occupy them well beyond the amount of time they were originally intended to stay. Namely, the housing is expensive, costing taxpayers some $48,000 each, CNS News reported. In highly populated areas like New York City, space is another concern when you consider that a one-acre lot, which normally contains 200 households can only house 10 single-family FEMA trailers.

But a new pre-fab prototype by Garrison Architects aims to address some of those concerns. And did we mention, it's pretty, too?

The model units confirm what some housing industry insiders (and many of the tiny-home dwellers we've come across here at HuffPost Home) have known to be true for some time: bigger isn't always better. Not only have they proven successful in places like Europe, smaller modular units can be built inside, away from weather and dirt, with much less wasted material as Tom O’Hara, director of business development at Capsys, explained to Marketplace.org, possibly solving for the issue of getting larger trailers to the scene of a disaster -- a concern highlighted in the Homeland Security report.

Check out the photos below and read more about Garrison's project over at Architizer.

  • Andrew Rugge/archphoto
    The three-story unit located in downtown Brooklyn is a welcome alternative to the FEMA trailers traditionally used to house residents displaced by natural disasters.
  • Andrew Rugge/archphoto
    Inside, three apartments range in size from a 480-square-foot one bedroom to an 813-square-foot three bedroom, and include living areas, full kitchens and storage space.
  • Andrew Rugge/archphoto
    According to Architizer, city staff will put this prototype to a year of testing as they live in the unit at five-day intervals at a time.
  • Andrew Rugge/archphoto
    But despite the homes' comfier offerings and ability to stack on top of one another, questions remain about whether they really area viable alternative for urban evacuees.

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