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Ikea Develops a Smart Flat-Pack Shelter for Disaster Refugees

  But the very design methodology that has made you rage-throw your allen wrench against the wall could be the solution to a major problem in refugee housing.

The Ikea Foundation, the Swedish furniture maker’s philanthropic branch, is working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and a team of designers from the Refugee Housing Unit (RHU) to completely overhaul the current housing situation for millions of refugees. Much like your Hemnes bed or Expedit shelving unit, Ikea’s flat-pack shelter will come deconstructed in cardboard boxes. But unlike the furniture that fills your bedroom, these units will be shipped around the world when natural disasters and conflicts displace families from their homes. “From the start we knew two things,” said Johan Karlsson, a project manager from RHU who helped lead the design process.

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