According to the meticulous researcher and climate blogger Joe Romm, “There are enough shipping containers on earth to build an eight-foot high wall around the equator–twice.” And a good portion of them are not being used. I know there are many in my area serving as storage containers for personal and business use, but that still leaves thousands being stacked indefinitely in the U.S. – one form of evidence of our huge trade deficit.

So, as we think about provisional housing ideas – for the homeless today and for the disaster refugees of tomorrow – there are some creative thinkers out there making plans for such futures. Joe Romm describes some of their ideas.

One organization utilizing this building technique is PFNC Global communities, which stands for “Por Fin Nuestra Casa,” the Spanish equivalent of “Finally, a Home of Our Own.” PFNC is in the process of launching their one-unit shipping container home business, and they plan to create housing for people currently living in dangerous or insufficient housing situations around the world. They can put together a unit for less than $10,000, and BusinessWeek even took note and named their concept one of the top 20 most important innovations of the next 10 years.

The shipping container method is also ideal for creating portable temporary disaster relief shelters. Small units can be constructed quickly and then shipped out to provide people with a roof and basic amenities until they are back on their feet.

[Addendum April 13]

Lloyd Kahn – famous among Whole Earthies for his groundbreaking series of books on Shelter, posted this nice photo of a shipping container cabin:

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