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Next experiment in shipping-container social housing: seven storeys

December 27th, 2014 · 8 Comments

The housing non-profit Atira built a three-storey building out of shipping containers a couple of years ago. Now Atira is launching an even more ambitious effort, a seven-storey building composed out of 80 to 90 shipping containers.

My Globe story is here, with a render. You can also look at the rezoning proposal on the city’s website here.

Lots of reaction to this project. More than one person, besides Michael Geller quoted in the story, raised questions about whether building with shipping containers is any cheaper than conventional construction.

I didn’t get into it in the story, since that was focused on construction trends, but there is some dismay from some in the neighbourhood about the added stress and demand for more social services this will bring in a community that already has high demand for childcare, community-centre services and more.  Then others think this is just a bad area to be permanently housing women and children. And there have been some concerns about the height of this building, which will be backing onto an alley that has much lower houses on the other side.

All valid issues, but I know one of the ongoing problems with trying to create social housing is simply the cost of land. So where a city or a non-profit has land already available (which Atira does in the remainder of the lot behind the Rice Block that this project is planned for), that seems to trump all the other factors.

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