Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cargotecture: Repurposing Shipping Containers

There is a growing movement of innovators that are repurposing abandoned shipping containers into new usable spaces. In their raw form, these containers are dark and windowless, but with some customization, they can become bright, modern structures. They are extremely strong, they're weather-proof, require no permanent foundation to keep them sturdy, and have built-in connectors that can be used to attach one to another. Around the world, do-it-yourselfers and creative architects are transforming these once abandoned containers into mobile businesses, offices, small homes, spacious homes, multi-family housing, rental cabins and even skyscrapers.

In the United States, there are over 700,000 cargo containers abandoned each year, according to Department of Transportation estimates. Repurposing these containers is an awesome form of recycling! It is also a low cost solution that may help solve many of the world's major problems. We found out about several groups who are utilizing this technology to help those in need. Global Container Partnerships is a non-profit organization that is repurposing shipping containers into sustainable housing and community buildings such as medical facilities, schools and neighborhood centers in impoverished countries. And SEED, a group of researchers from Clemson University, who have set a plan into motion to help rebuild Haiti using cargotecture. Caribbean nations inherently import more than they export and therefore have a steady surplus of shipping containers. Both of these groups are working with these third-world nations to utilize the excess containers to improve conditions within their country. The containers are strong enough to withstand hurricane winds and seismic activity; it's a natural fit.

Containers to Clinic (C2C) is a non-profit, charitable initiative that seeks to improve the health of women and children by providing access to primary healthcare through networks of converted shipping container clinics. C2C will open their pilot clinic in Port-au-Prince, Haiti this month. In the future, C2C plans to serve many underserved communities and train and staff their clinics with people from the local community. As you can see, the cargotecture initiative is both beneficial to our planet and our people.
For more information, check out these links:

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