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Ulmer Nest, Source: Ulmer Nests Facebook Page

Sleeping pods in Ulm provide shelter for the homeless during winter months

Sleeping pods in Ulm provide shelter for the homeless during winter months

The so-called Ulmer Nests are provided and deployed by an NGO that wants to protect the lives of the city’s homeless population

Sleeping pods can be found around the German city of Ulm offering the city’s homeless population shelter during the cold winter months. These pods, called Ulmer Nests, are part of a pilot project under the same name that aims to find and develop new and innovative solutions for the problems that plague cities and their citizens.

Innovative practices that save lives

The Ulmer Nests project came about as part of a request from the city of Ulm for the temporary problem-solving initiative "Wilhelmsbüro" of the two young Ulm companies Bootschaft, Resistance and Sons and computer scientist Florian Geiselhart. The Ulmer Nest was initiated by this project team, consisting of product and interface designers, software and hardware developers, and its development has continued to this day.

The pods themselves were developed after rigorous testing and discussions with interested parties and local officials. The final model boasts enough space for two people to sleep in and is made out of steel and wood. The pods provide ample protection from below-freezing temperatures and can prove to be lifesaving for people in precarious circumstances.

Furthermore, the pods themselves boast their own web connection that alerts the charity running them once they are occupied. This allows workers to keep them clean and to check up on those sleeping inside them, offering them help and additional support should they require it.

In the two years since the pods were first introduced, they have been upgraded numerous times. Currently, they also boast solar panels that keep them powered and environmentally friendly and new designs are being worked on to improve energy saving and provide better conditions for those making use of them.

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