Container Cities

Reader hd passes on a link about shipping container homes from Urban Space Management, a group of builders in London who are building entire communities, schools, and farmer’s markets using old freight containers:

There are lots of links at Want to live in a shipping container?, or go to to learn more:

Containers are an extremely flexible method of construction, being both modular in shape, extremely strong structurally and readily available. Container Cities offer an alternative solution to traditional space provision. They are ideal for office and workspace, live-work and key-worker housing.

Container Cities do not even have to look like containers! It is a relatively simple matter to completely clad a building externally in a huge variety of materials.

Finally the benefits of Container Cities can truly be seen in short and medium term land use projects. Short-life sites can have Container Cities that simply unbolt and can be relocated or stored when land is required for alternative uses. To date this alternative method of construction has successfully created youth centres, classrooms, office space, artists studios, live / work space, a nursery and retail space.

As the occasional astute person points out at one of my talks, large structures limit dynamic geography if people can’t opt-out individually. That’s the point of Anthony’s Ling’s “Rendering Freedom” design – using modular housing to maintain competition for individual housing units.

And we are actually considering this two-component design of a separate floating base and buildings for Poseidon, because we think we may be able to find a location with low enough waves to use ships or barges. Ships may be better at first because they are cheap right now and have built-in infrastructure (ie a cruise ship is already built for residential use), but we may expand to barges, in which case we’d use some kind of modular structures on top. Standard structures to put onto barges exist already, in fact – we’re looking at them for Ephemerisle. One benefit is that we don’t have to finance and build office space on top of the barge all at once – we can add units as we rent them out, thus lowering initial capital requirements.


3 thoughts on “Container Cities”

  1. One issue is that shipping containers, being made from fairly heavy gauge steel, may be heavier than say wood-framed home construction.  Therefore they may be more appropriate to use on a barge or container ship (standard displacement hulls) than on a seastead.  OTOH, this fits well with the idea of starting with ships or barges.

Leave a Reply