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How Much Would You Pay to Live Like a Homeless Person?

Sleep on a park bench or under a train track for just $16 a night.

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Hotels these days will do anything to get a customers' attention, and we have gotten used to all sorts of marketing stunts. But the concept behind the Faktum Hotel in Gothenburg, Sweden, is really out there: It has no rooms. Charging customers 100 Swedish krona per night (about $16), the hotel’s website guides visitors through the grim urban spots where homeless people find shelter, and invites them to enjoy the "accommodations."

"A highly prized location with a magnificent view of the city, Slottsskogen offers a living out of the ordinary," reads the description of one of the hotel’s "rooms," which, in this case, consists of a couple of park benches on a gloomy, abandoned terrace at the edge of the woods.  Other options include spots under a bridge, on the docks, in a derelict factory, or even on a stadium that "freezes in winter, turning into a cozy skating ring. [sic]"

An initiative by Swedish charity and magazine Faktum, the hotel is intended as a way to draw attention to the people living in the streets. The booking fee is a small donation that you can make for yourself or a friend, and if you want to go all the way, you are free to take advantage of your spot under the cold Scandinavian skies. The funds are used to support the charity work of Faktum Magazine, a periodical sold in the streets by homeless people.

According to Faktum’s website, the organization creates awareness about homelessness and social exclusion, and, more important, provides the homeless with work. "A salesman job brings responsibilities and the possibility of a better social environment," reads Fakum’s mission statement. "These things are important when you are trying to purchase a home. Or a life for that matter."

The project is supported by media agency Forsman & Bodenfors, which created the website and the booking system.

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About the Author

  • Silvia Gugu is a Romanian-born urban designer and theorist who studied in the United States. She writes for Architizer.