Are Shipping Containers a Useful Source of Post-Disaster Housing?

After reading an article about the proposed use of shipping containers for affordable housing in Washington, DC, I asked one of my readers who is an architect for his view about the feasibility of using them for post-disaster housing. The original article, with some mention of the use of container housing in NY, is here.

In reply to my question, architect Don Watson offered the following:

“Cargo architecture” has made afoot hold. Using the units does not necessarily reduce costs. The Wash. Post article describes such accurately. New York City Emergency Planners have used the approach for disaster temporary housing….”temporary housing” is a misnomer….the units cost as much as convene final construction. But an advantage is that they can conceivably be built more rapidly as factory modules. It is the factory module technology that makes them quick to assemble on site. Thus part of solution. A few samples:

New modular disaster relief housing prototype developed...[Jul 07, 2014 • As of January this year 1,300 families were still living in temporary housing … shipping containers versus modular housing.] …
First NYC Shipping Container Home Receives Final Approval.[The couple plans to provide visiting musicians and scholars with temporary housing in … shipping containers.]
Designing for Disaster: Which is better, modular or ship [May 21, 2013 • Another look at the question of what is the best way to build good housing].

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2 Responses to Are Shipping Containers a Useful Source of Post-Disaster Housing?

  1. Probably worth noting that these are used in Alaska for all sorts of housing. For example, the motels seen in “Ice Road Truckers” are made from shipping containers.

  2. Thom Rounds says:

    The link is to a short video on how Christchurch, NZ used shipping containers to reestablish retail quickly after their earthquake. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3NyfO4PRAg

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