Using Shipping Containers to Change the World

When the term “shipping container” comes to mind, you probably imagine a bland, large box used for shipping materials. I would like to invite you to think out-of-the-box, the shipping container box that is, for a moment. Below are some examples of shipping containers that are being put to extraordinary use, all thanks to a little creativity and “out-of-the-box” thinking. Entrepreneurs around the world are taking advantage of the relatively low overhead cost of shipping containers and blank canvas they provide to help people in need.

Providing Homes for the Homeless

Many people do not have the luxury of buying or renting a house or apartment. That is why dedicated activists around the world are turning to shipping containers to provide homes for the homeless.

[Image via Vice]

In Brighton, there was a very large homeless population with no access to affordable housing. This complex known as “Richardson’s Yard” is built completely out of shipping containers. It offers the homeless a place to sleep at an affordable price. Each container has electricity and running water that services showers, toilets, and sinks. Each container is also equipped with a corner kitchen.

Because of the success of this program in the UK, similar shipping container programs are coming to the Unites States. The lower price and mobility of the shipping containers make them perfect for getting homeless citizens back on their feet. Cities like Detroit, which have been suffering from a housing crisis for quite a while, will benefit from the convenience and affordability that these creative shipping containers offer.

Mentoring Children

Everyone knows that children are the future of the world. That is why a talented group of people came up with the idea of mentoring children in under developed nations around the world so that they have the skills and knowledge to escape poverty: using shipping containers.

[Image via Fast Coexist]

Humanitarians around the world are taking a different approach to how they can best utilize a shipping container. LaunchPad Computer Labs is using shipping containers to mentor children affected by extreme poverty in South Africa.
While this sounds like a huge feat, theses scientists were able to come up with a solar-powered computer lab from a shipping container. Through internet access, these children have access to mentors from all over the world to help them excel personally and academically so that they can escape poverty. This involves teaching them language, interpersonal, business, and computer skills among other guidance and support.

A shipping container is the perfect tool for humanitarian work because it has a low cost, and it is easily transportable. This means that if something doesn’t work out location wise, it is easy and inexpensive to move or make necessary changes without compromising the work they do.

Do You Love the City, But Miss Fresh Produce?

Introducing a greenhouse made entirely from a shipping container. Tightly packed urban areas typically do not have the room for farms and the people suffer health-wise with a lack of fresh produce.

[Image via Design Boom]

With limited space available in a conventional city landscape, most people assume that all agricultural activity is out of the question. This is where the conventional shipping container comes in great use. Its compact size allows innovators to create a mini ecosystem within the container. It self-waters and grows produce so that people in the area have access to fresh and affordable veggies.

This is changing the way people live in urban areas around the world. It also is giving children the opportunity to learn about healthy diets and provides them with the chance to learn how to grow their own food. That is one way to make produce exciting!

So the next time you see an ordinary shipping container, try to imagine the infinite possibilities it holds to quite literally change the world.

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