Shipping containers: Next frontier for affordable Philly housing?

The Nomadic Museum in Santa Monica, Ca. is made of 150 shipping containers.

Councilman Jim Kenney is working on an interesting way to combat the city’s affordable housing crisis: recycled shipping containers.

“You take two containers, take the middle wall out, bolt them together and you can stack them as high as six high,” he told the Office of Housing and Community Development Monday during a City Council budget hearing.

Kenney, in conjunction with members of the Philadelphia Building Trades and Construction Council, has developed a prototype for the sustainable, low-cost housing at the carpenters’ training facility in Northeast Philadelphia.

“It’s really built very solidly and you basically slide the house, the two-story house – which is contiguous with the rest of the street – into the infill,” he said. “If I were to take you to a house that’s finished, you’d never even know it was there.”

The containers are certainly not in short supply. “They’re piling up all over the world,” Kenney said. “China has a stockyard of thousands of them.” And the Philadelphia-built units would employ union laborers: Kenney hopes to matriculate employees through workforce development programs, providing job opportunities for young people.

Environmentally conscious architecture firms have been using shipping containers in building construction for years, creating apartment buildings, homeless shelters and even shopping malls from the corrugated steel boxes.

“It’s an intriguing idea,” Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. agreed. “And talk about recycling.”

Kenney said he was initially eying contracts with FEMA or the military to enable mass production of the units, but is now pondering if there is sufficient demand for a city pilot project to be successful. 


Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.


Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…


OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…


MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.


Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.


Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.