urban camp

100 Unit Camp in 300 Parking Spaces

Urban Camp was challenged by a homeless service organization to design a 100 unit system to allow for more efficiency in delivering required social services. 

Urban Camp utility systems are designed to support groups of 10 units, so expanding to an array of 10 x 10 was simple.  Each Urban Camp dwelling is designed to fit in a standard parking space with an open space between units.  Allowing for emergency access routes and common areas, the entire development occupied 300 parking spaces – about 50% of the size of a standard big box store parking area.

Solar Power: The solar power system is also simple to expand.  Each dwelling has 4 solar panels at 400 watts each, and each grouping of 10 feeds a master unit totaling 16 KW, or a total of 160 KW for the development.

Water Systems: Off-Grid Wet systems are used for speed of development, but fixed site utilities can be connected to reduce monthly operating costs.  The system includes 10,000 Gallon storage tanks for fresh water, blackwater, and fire sprinkler water where required.

Open Areas:  The site layout has good access for emergency response vehicles and central office / meeting areas for social service representatives.  Simple open areas are reserved for tenant free space shaded by ready-set trees in a box.

Fast Flexible Installation:  The living spaces are designed to be installed quickly on parking areas and connected to the utility system with above grade utility tubes.

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N3-XX: Neighborhood of Up to 100 Homes

  • Minimal land use designs for 20 Family and 80 Personal Homes
  • Personal Control Living Spaces
  • Personal Address for Social Services
  • Efficient Connection to Utility Systems
  • On Grid or Off-Grid Flexibility
  • Site Management for Clean Environment


  • 10 ft x 8 ft Living Space
  • 7 ft Ceiling Height
  • 12 ft x 8 ft x 8 ft Overall


  • Steel Door and Frame
  • Deadbolt Lock – Personal Key
  • Milk Box Delivery Door
  • Window with Security Screen


  • HUD Code Construction
  • UL Certification
  • Fire Safe Construction
  • Smoke and CO Alarms
  • Safety Glass Windows
  • Exterior Light


  • Home Type Amenities
  • Drywall Walls and Ceiling
  • Waterproof Sheet Flooring
  • Raised Standard Bed Platform
  • Extensive Personal Storage
  • Pantry Cabinet
  • LED Lighting Fixtures
  • Wall Mounts for Clean Floor

Bath Fixtures

  • Ceramic Flush Toilet
  • Ceramic Wash Sink
  • Corner Shower Unit


  • Traditional Exterior Finish
  • With Classic Finish Color
  • Fiber Cement Siding and Trim

Water -  Power Management

  • Computer Control
  • Resource Management

Resource Efficiency

  • Average 3500 BTU Energy Use
  • Average 15 GPD Water Use


  • Welded Steel Frame
  • Thermal Wall, Ceiling, Floor Panels
  • Lightweight for Low Load Base

Water and Wastewater

  • 10,000 GAL Fresh Water Tank
  • 10,000 GAL Blackwater Tank
  • For Weekly Refresh Service
  • Time-Out Water Flow Control

Fuel System

  • Propane Tanks
  • Dual Tank Regulator
  • Weekly Refresh Service


  • Auto-Start Propane Generator for
  • Battery Charge System
  • 2 x 12V No Maintain Batteries
  • Rated at 100 Amp-HR
  • Non-Corrosive Battery Boxes
  • 12V LED Lighting Systems


  • Hydronic Heating System
  • Tankless Water Heater
  • Thermostat Control

Hot Water

  • Heat Exchanger for Domestic


  • 12 VDC Fan Units rated 50 CFM


  • 2 x USB Charging Ports
  1. Concept: A low cost minimalist shelter with on-board utilities for urban homeless.

  2. Environment: Current Urban Encampments.

  3. Occupancy:  1-3 people. Consider: (1) single person, (2) couple, (3) single or couple with child, (4) single or couple with elderly, (5) single or couple with pet.

  4. Servicing:  Weekly replenishment of utilities, and food / personal care items through external access only of utility area.  No service provider access to personal space.  Service provided by non-profit / religious organizations.

  5. Base Requirements:
  • Weatherproof: Exterior vandal resistant skin for weather protection and insulation.  Including floor and roof.
  • Security and Safety: Security windowed door with keyed exterior access.  Escape window and security screen for emergency egress and ventilation on open from interior.
  • Personal Use: Sleeping area above floor.  Maximum storage space for personal goods
  • Ability to Clean: Wall supported interior fixtures to maintain clear floor area for cleaning.
  • Movable: Design as a skid to winch onto tilt trailer for delivery and re-location.
  • Aesthetics:  Home-like exterior and interior design and finishes.
  1. Onboard Utility Requirements:
  • Clean Water: Water for sanitation, hygiene, and possible drinking – cooking.
  • Wastewater: Wastewater from toilet, sink, and possible floor drain.
  • Propane:  Propane for generator, heating, and possible cooking.
  • HVAC Systems:  Ventilation, heating, and possible cooling.
  • Power: Generator and battery for electric power for lighting, hvac, utility outlet, and possibly pumps