Community Update

World Pulse Toolkits Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits are all available here.

We are especially excited to share our signature Citizen Journalism and Digital Empowerment Curriculum. Start learning today!

A tiny idea


Whenever I come across a new idea that interests me, I research it until I find myself satisfied for the time being. But this idea will not leave me. The idea is shipping containers for affordable and sustainable housing. It's not a new idea, I didn't come up with it, but I want to know more about it.

I worked to build decent, affordable housing with an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity in one of the richest areas of the United States. King County in Washington state has fewer millionaires than only nine other American communities. This has something to do with the fact that Microsoft is headquartered there (and also, I suspect, because Washington does not levy an income tax on its residents). One of our homeowners worked at Microsoft, although in the cafeteria, and he could not afford to live in the community he worked in. I saw how being able to buy one of the affordable townhouses we built immensely benefited him and his family.

So, affordable housing, yes, but why shipping containers? It takes a lot a lot of expertise and materials to build structures that meet building codes, and even 'green' building practices are not wholly sustainable. Shipping containers often pile up in ports around the world, in places that import more than they export, as it is apparently cheaper to create a new container than to ship an old one back to its origins empty. Some see promise in this surplus. As building units, containers are modular, meaning they can be put together like blocks, and structurally they can withstand hurricane force winds.

The SEED project at Clemson University has been working to utilize shipping containers as an affordable housing solution in the Caribbean. Here is video of a school being built out of shipping containers in Haiti: Container City has built a number of projects in the UK:

Would you want to live or work in a structure made out of shipping containers? What problems do you foresee this approach to building would have in your community?


Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Letters to a Better World

Letters to a Better World

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

Mkandeh's picture

Ebola: Sierra Leoneans feel like prisoners

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative