A friend is working with someone on the idea of repurposing cargo containers. They are working with 20’ long containers (because 40’ will not fit in the shop). They are mulling many uses because these containers are really blank slates that we have an excess of (we import more than we export). Their first model is kinda like a weekend hunting cabin (though i think they need a more environmentally sustainable toilet solution). Another idea is hooking together multiples to make a larger living space (320 sq ft side by side ; 640 with a 2x2 stack). Another is a kitchen/restaurant placed next to a building. It might be easier and less expensive than retrofitting a space for a kitchen. You could create a bar/party trailer with a drop down wall for a patio.
Austin, Texas has a container bar. Cargominiums have been put up in Columbus, Ohio. Wichita, Kansas (and other cities) have shipping container “malls”.
Using shipping container has unique zoning issues, same as the tiny home movement. Some of it is a square footage issue, some is portability. There are cities that are embracing these as housing/building alternatives, some are adamant against them.
The use of these goes along with one of the exhibits at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. They talk about our changing household demographics and housing costs and housing sizes. They also have a model 1000 square foot home that has “pocket” walls to change size/purpose of rooms. The demo uses multipurpose furniture from Resource Furniture.
I like these ideas because we are repurposing an existing resource. I think they could be one piece of the homeless puzzle. I think the “mall” idea could be helpful to local entrepreneurs because the costs should be less. I have been following the idea of agriculture using these. Someone also had the idea of school #MakerSpace in a box like these. I have seen one science lab in a box (the curiosity cube) Not being on wheels can be a positive and a negative. I have seen science labs and makerspaces in a trailer (cleveland mobile fab lab) that are much more portable. So I am not sure which is “better”
I also think 3D printing houses would be cool.