This is a great photo by Bobby Yip/Reuters of unused shipping containers piled up at a storage depot in Hong Kong. The Chinese government is looking for places to store hundreds of thousands of unused containers expected to flood Hong Kong in the coming months due to China’s slow exports.
As long time readers of my blog know, I have a fascination with shipping containers as architectural elements and I can’t help but wonder if these hundreds of thousands of shipping containers can be better used for things other than littering up the urban landscape for the next couple of years (or more realistically, for a couple of decades). The U.S. military has used shipping containers for housing throughout the middle east and I don’t know why they could not be adapted on a large scale in suburban areas for high and as the photo shows below, low density housing at a much more affordable price than building from scratch.
While the idea of acres and acres of shipping containers is likely to make any city planner nervous, the Habitat 67 in Montreal is an example of what could be done on large scale. Something that could integrate the variety and diversity of private homes with the economics and density of a modern apartment building.
As in all recessions, there is an upside of down. Hopefully we can take advantage of it.