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. 


Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.


Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.


OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…


Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.


Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."


'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…


Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.


Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.


Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.


Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.


How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.


VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.


#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.


Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.