Homeless people aren't safe sleeping on streets. That's why these 'parasitic pods' are so fantastic.

Every person deserves a warm, dry place to rest their head.

These may look like something you'd spot in an urban design magazine for rich people:



Illustration courtesy of James Furzer.

But looks can be deceiving.

At first glance, it's not exactly clear what they are, right? Maybe a few fancy extensions on homes for the wealthy? A new public art project? Greenhouses for millionaires who grow their own kale?

Nope, nope, and definitely not.

These design concepts are intended to help some of London's most vulnerable: its homeless people.

James Furzer — an architectural technician studying his craft at the University of Greenwich — created these award-winning "parasitic sleeping pods." And while "parasitic" isn't exactly a word with positive connotations, they're actually pretty cool. The pods can be attached to any building to provide a safe space for users to rest their head.

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Illustration courtesy of James Furzer.

Accessible by ladder, they would be lightweight, modular, and a safer place to stay than the street, Furzer told Upworthy.


Illustration courtesy of James Furzer.

He was inspired to design the pods for a simple reason: Homeless people are people, too.

"I feel it is the duty of us as humans to be compassionate to others in need and not treat them as vermin," he said.

"The homeless community needs to be given a safe, warm, dry space to stay."

Illustration courtesy of James Furzer.

His innovative designs aren't just cool to look at — they would help solve a serious problem.

While the pods themselves won't fight homelessness, they would help protect London's homeless from both inclement weather and street violence.

Research found homeless people in the U.K. are 13 times more likely to experience violence than people who aren't homeless. They're also more at-risk of becoming victims of theft, sexual assault, and property damage. The pods would help protect users from anyone out to harm them.

The hope would be for charities focused on fighting homelessness to monitor the pods so users could enter and exit safely, according to Furzer. Ideally, the same organizations would also provide upkeep of the pods, so they'd remain clean and habitable.

The pods are Furzer's response to an influx of public spaces that are designed to shoo homeless people away.

"Recently there has been a rise in 'hostile architecture' across London," he explained, noting the "anti-homeless spikes" (which I wrote about last week) that aim to keep homeless people from resting around town.

"These are implemented as a deterrent to the homeless, not aimed at helping."

These are an example of anti-homeless spikes. Aren't they nice? *shaking head* Photo by Space, Not Spikes.

Alas, for now, Furzer's pods live only on paper.

The designs face a few uphill battles before becoming a reality, he explained.

For one, Furzer would need to get funding for a prototype. He would also need to overcome other barriers — like political roadblocks and finding appropriate locations — not to mention the possibility of adverse reactions from the public.

But even if the designs only stay at the idea level, Furzer feels his work can make a difference.

"If my concept can help engage a shift in the mindset of the public towards the homeless," he said, "then I feel it is a success."

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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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