Regarding relief efforts following the Pakistan earthquake last October (see news stories and the diary of architecture student volunteers on www. ajplus. co. uk). Northern Pakistan is miserably cold and wet in winter (I've been there) so tents are not ideal emergency shelters. Cannot polystyrene or polyethylene in 10cm sheets be stapled together to form snug sleeping boxes? Too expensive? They would need waterproof adhesive strips at joints and wire mesh to reduce the risk of burglary, and loose ends to tie the sheets to the ground.
Alternatively, newspaper or sheep's wool stuffed in painted, hardboard cellular panels could be used. What would be the cost?
I am surprised that architecture or surveying students haven't already made mad-cap suggestions. They used to.
A second subject: raising awareness of the Walter Segal Self Build Trust (WSSBT). No one has the job of fundraising for the organisation, so it will close in two or three years, according to chairman Edward Walker. They have built around 250 houses on about 20 sites and also about 20 social buildings, all to high 'green' standards. They have also won many awards. Secretary Mary Kelly has done wonders in recent years but seems to have allowed herself to become over-stretched. WSSBT needs a little official recognition - for example a minister's statement that every housing site should allow 5-10 per cent of land for self-builders. (Self build not only helps housing targets, it also creates skills in the layman. ) The trust needs to produce and circulate an illustrated pamphlet listing all its schemes and their building times and costs.
It is absurd that a summary of this achievement cannot be shown.
Colin Boyne, Wells