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. 


New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…


On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."


New York-based Century 21 store coming to The…

The former Strawbridge & Clothier building will once again host a department store. City officials on Thursday announced New York-based Century 21 Department Stores will…


Electric Zoo tickets on sale Tuesday as festival…

Electric Zoo tickets go on sale Tuesday. The festival announced plans to amp up security after two attendees died last year from apparent drug overdoses.


Championship of Collegiate a Cappella: Students who are…

Tickets to this Saturday’s International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella reportedly sold out within 11 hours of going on sale.


M.I.A. talks 'Matangi,' divinity, spontaneity and holograms

"There’s pressure for me to become a theatrical production like 'Glee,' or something" says M.I.A., "It’s like, 'the pressure’s on, bitches.'"


Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.


Jason Collins named to Time's 100 Most Influential…

Jason Collins was named to the list after coming out as the first openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.


The return of Cole Hamels brings optimism

Cole Hamels’ quality start Wednesday was a nice change of pace from his recent season debuts.


Tony Gwynn Jr. a nice surprise for Phillies

Tony Gwynn Jr. has been a plus in every way for the Phillies.


2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version


Hai Street Kitchen opening in Rittenhouse May 22

Japanese cuisine will get a Chipotle-style twist at Hai Street Kitchen & Co., a new casual, quick-food restaurant opening near Rittenhouse Square on May 22.…


New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.


From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.


Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.