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Shipping Container Apartments – Constructive vs. Destructive

Australian National University Prefab Container Student Apartments

If you live in or around a major seaport, you have probably seen your fair share of massive ships loaded with containers that contain all sorts of different products. Shipping containers have long been used to transports goods from port to port, but it turns out that they are finding a new lease on life when their transport days are over.

You may know that used shipping containers are being repurposed to create living spaces, which is actually not as ridiculous as it may sound. They are spacious, durable, and easy to convert into a very functional living space. And besides single family housing, shipping container apartments are on the rise in some communities.

One place where this trend has really taken hold is in China, as the influx of migrant workers has had the country scrambling for ways to house all of them. The Chinese have been seeing a major boom in their economy, with the high levels of trade leading to a huge number of shipping containers making their way into the country.

Rather than just have the containers pile up unused, the Chinese government decided to put them to use as housing for the migrant workers. It does not take much to make the containers into a functional living space, and the workers are left with an affordable way to live.

I’m sure that many people will hear about the use of shipping containers as a living space and imagine that the conditions are quite horrid. This is in fact not the case, as the containers are cleaned and made livable before they are put into use.

If you don’t believe that to be the case, you need to look at the shipping container apartment complex that is now being used in Le Havre, France. The boxy look of the apartments looks more like a cool architectural project than anything else, and you really have to get up close to see that it is shipping containers that were used to create the building. The big giveaway when you get close is the doors, as they have retained the original look of the shipping container.

The French version of the shipping container home is a whole lot more luxurious than what the Chinese have, but there is a reason for that. These units are being sold as high-priced apartments, with each of the containers made specifically for that project. The Chinese, on the other hand, wanted to make living spaces that anyone could afford, which is why they went the used container route.

The major benefit of putting shipping containers to use in this way is for the benefits that recycling has in regard to saving the environment. China could have had thousands of these containers just left to rot once their shipping days are over. So, why not do something constructive with them? Constructive versus destructive, you might say. What they have done is kill two birds with one stone, and the success of the project will likely mean that other countries will start to adopt this practice.


About Kevin


Kevin is both an environmentalist and a tech guy and has been writing, editing and publishing this blog since 2007. He answers questions related to how you can use tech to go greener.

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