Thursday 28 June 2018

A student has devised a solution for key workers who want to cut out long commutes to their place of work.

PodLife offers health and uniformed service professionals, who live out of the area in which they work, with affordable temporary city centre accommodation.

The concept was devised by University of Northampton Interior Design student, Chelsea Whitehead, who was given the brief to come up with an alternative use for a disused building at 29-32 Mary Street, in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

PodLife comprises a series of prefabricated habitable pods, which include a bed and an en suite bathroom, that could be ‘stacked’ within the building.

A computer-generated image of the pod interior

“When I was given the brief to bring the building back to life, I found my inspiration from my sister, who used to commute from London to Leicester each day, which meant she had to contend with long unsociable hours and spend far too much money on travelling,” said Chelsea, who comes from Leicester.

“I then began to research the types of commuters who travel in and out of Birmingham, and found there was a high percentage of nurses.

“I was concerned that they, and other key workers such as fire rescue, police and paramedics, were devoting large chunks of their time travelling, when they should be resting after a demanding shift during anti-social hours – and also spending a substantial amount of their salary on travel.”

29-32 Mary Street, in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, which Chelsea chose for her project
A computer-generated image of the pod interior
A model of how the pods could be arranged within the building
Chelsea’s pod system is designed to be craned into a site

PodLife has been praised by the University’s Dean of Faculty of Health and Society, Dr Steve O’Brien, who said: “I think the temporary home from home could work well. We are seeing an ever-growing number of key workers, especially in the health and social care-related professions, working at a distance from their homes.

“The long distance commute adds additional stress to already stretched staff. A facility such as this would be welcomed for short overnight stays at reasonable cost, allowing key workers to relax after demanding shifts, get a good night’s sleep and attend to their professional duties refreshed the next day.

“All the evidence suggests that over tired, stressed professionals are more prone to make mistakes and in health this can have disastrous consequences. The fact this will save on some travel cost is also welcomed.”

 

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