There are several different ways in which shelters can be constructed. Most importantly, of these various types each can be created from whatever resources on finds on hand in the environment. Creating the shelter that best suits the needs of the owner and is constructed in such a manner that is both sustainable, as in it conserves as much resources as possible, and two is durable enough to withstand a high degree of wear and some degree of severe weather. When considering such a design it is useful to reflect upon the housing that various indigenous peoples and that of certain roving nomadic bands. Of these types it can be divided further into at least 4 major types.
These are one off shelters of any kind, designed for temporary use, but sometimes can be modified from longer term usage. These usually require the least amount of energy and resources to construct and destruct. Examples:
- Lean to
- Modern two man tent
- Quinzhee(snow shelter)
Inside a quinzhee shelter
Semi permanent structures
These can be quite durable however they tend to be able to be either portable or perhaps are unable to withstand (or be habitable during) bouts of poor weather or other environmental factors. These can require a large amount of effort to construct but typically are created with materials found on site and are designed for minimal maintenance. Examples:
- Yurt (portable)
- Adirondack or three faced shelters
A three faced shelter
Short term permanent structures
The major difference here from semi permanent structures being these structures are designed for repeated use however are not intended for year round habitation. These structures may be seasonal or even only used during certain parts of a trans human cycle. These can require resources from off site in order to increase durability and sometimes require annual maintenance to upkeep. Examples:
- Yurt (Non portable)
- Igloo (In nomadic or trans-human settlements
- Mountain Huts
A yurt made of modern plastic.
Long term permanent structures
These are typically the most resource heavy and can require the most materials and expertise to create . These however are used for long term settlement style dwellings. Long term structures are usually designed to stand up to the highest degree of locale environmental challenges. Examples:
- Stilt house
- Long house
A recreation of a native longhouse
Each of these structure types has certain benefits associated with it. There may be benefits in terms of the speed and ease of construction or in regards to the resources required in order to construct such a structure. These, benefits must be analyzed before construction should commence. If for instance, one lives in a climate that is constantly below freezing then constructing a shelter that is made of ice such as an igloo could become a regular long term permanent structure. However, if part of the year it is too warm or if part of the year it becomes to harsh to live in cold conditions and migration is needed, then such a shelter may become a short term or even constructed to be temporary. There is an implicit assumption made in these lists and that is that the knowledge, tools, and resources are at the disposal of the individual or group that is constructing such a structure. These like with food are part of an intricate network and if built upon to tenuous of a foundation of knowledge or skill may become difficult to reproduce, maintain, or even construct in the first place.
Aside from the resources and expertise required there are other considerations to ponder. Is this home going to create more work via maintanance, is a good starting question. Also, one must also consider whether the effort in building and maintaining will in some ways keep the person tied down and attached to a certain spot. This may cause unneeded attachment to a set of circumstances, land, or even a structure. If a strucutre is impermanent than it may cause less psychological attachment to the structure and way of life that it enables and in some cases requires. Modern cities are an example of how this can get out of hand. These are particularly long term settlements that are sometimes built without accessing the long term environmental effects. This sometimes leads to large scale human decay, waste, and suffering. This does not always have to be the case with human settlements or structures but becomes the case when a certain mandate or preference to lifestyle is considered before other important factors in structure building.
As always comment and ask questions and more posts of this sort will certainly be in order.
The Problem of Problem Solving blog post and check out this link http://www.lfy.ca/ for more information about this sort of thing.