When Hurricane Sandy interrupted his first semester, Products of Design student Damon Ahola started thinking about product design in the context of disaster preparedness. As a volunteer with the Occupy Sandy collective in Coney Island, Brooklyn, Ahola used his observations to produce these concepts for a portable relief supply tube.
The key insight to the project was the recognition that typical disaster supplies—water bottle, soup can, flashlight, batteries—all share the same cylindrical profile, making them an ideal match in terms of form factor. Providing a tubular “case,” then, in the form of a corrugated tube, makes for an appropriate solution in terms of packaging and distribution.
Ahola’s research included interviews with on-the-ground managers of relief supply logistics and distribution. After assessing requirements specific to New York City’s shipping and delivery systems, he designed a sleek and durable tube made to service the stark human needs that both precede, and follow, natural disaster.
Tubes may be packed with standard basic supplies to aid within the first couple of days post-disaster. Supplies can be catered as needs change throughout the relief effort. The label on the outer surface of the tube may be written on in order to document the contents, destination, name of volunteer who packed it, date, and other pertinent information.
Relief tubes will be distributed to homes pre-storm throughout potential disaster areas. Additional relief tubes will then be shipped to relief hubs, from which individuals with then distribute to those in need.
The size and profile of the tubes are standard size & are being shipped around the world today. The city of New York must work with e-commerce suppliers as well as shipping companies to find an ideal logistics solution. Supply and distribution should be handled locally, to cut down on cost.