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It's no arcology
james_nicoll
For one thing, container cities can actually be built and appear to fill an actual need.

I was reminded of this by a thread on rasfw but I think it showed up on Making Light quite a while ago.

That huge ice shelf is already floating, so it won't affect sea level if and when it breaks off, drifts away and breaks up.

Yes, the melting of said ice shelf will have no direct effect on ocean levels.

However, said ice shelf appeared to play a major role in slowing the flow of continental ice into the ocean, and altering that can have a significant effect on ocean levels.

Yep, containers are used to house students in Amsterdam; quite neat little houses they make too. much better than some student flats I've known.

How gracefully do containers age?

Hah! I was about to post that the containers were bright and colorful, like something you might see in the Netherlands.

Damn, if only I could be prescient when it comes to money.

I was given the awesome book How Buildings Learn years ago for a birthday gift. One of the buildings documented within was a study/office extension built within a shipping container. The owner had purchased the container, and hired a marine architect to design the interior. The photos were awesome and I was immediately thrown into a tailspin of envy. I would love to have such a studio.

But, I cannot help but feel that in our northern climate, it would be impractical, and only really usable a few months out of the year. I suppose you could put a small woodstove in it, though... hmmm....

They do need more insulation if you live in a climate with real seasons. I think the guy in HBL lives in San Francisco, which has fine seasons for people easily intimidated by real weather.

You could bury it, which gets into another kind of house I've always found interesting.

There's a lot to be said for having one or more stories of your house underground. Beware the flood zone, though...

I think someone mentioned that the facility to which the British government would retire in the event of some great crisis like a flood that inundated London is below the high water mark of previous floods that have inundated London.

If they were buried, damp would be a problem - aren't these containers made of steel?
I suppose you could spray it with something to keep the water out.

They're actually made of Cor-ten! They get painted more for identification purposes. Though if you actually wanted to bury them, yes, you'd have to surround them with a waterproof membrane and drainage.

Ah, that makes sense since they spend months out at sea. :)

Ah, but you can get insulated storage containers. They are a bit more expensive. Also, I love that book, and it was part of my decision to go back to school & study architecture.

::sigh::

Yes, I once had romantic notions of going back to school and studying architecture. Then the exigencies of "real life" smacked me in the forehead and woke me up... 8P

Since you liked How Buildings Learn, you may also like The 100 Mile City.

As long as they're in places that aren't prone to earthquakes, hurricanes, or tornadoes, cool.

Seems like a solid steel structure would be better suited to withstand all of those than the wood or tinfoil construction used in the tornado belt currently. Just make sure you tie the containers together with decent supports.


It would take more overpressure to make them implode than it does for regular buildings. On the minus side, and I think this is a problem for anything a human might live in or drive around in, their low density makes them a kite in high winds.

True. So perhaps a ziggurat design, to shed wind and provide stability. Internal boxes can be used for infrastructure. And requiring very good fasteners.

What happens on container ships? Or do container ships never bother moving empties?



They do move empties, to their regret. Not every place produces as much to send out as every destination does. The closest reference I have on hand -- Marc Levinson's The Box -- doesn't give detailed figures but points out that in 1998 about three-quarters of the containers sent from the Caribbean Islands to the United States were empty, driving up their prices for food and consumer goods.


Or container ships never bother moving empties?

Ha! I'm sure they desperately attempt not to, and I bet that could be solid basis for a cool boardgame... 8)

Enclosed cities still strike me as potentially useful. How's the snow on your walk?

Non-existent thanks to a 21st century technology I call the shovel.

The sidewalks get done by a mini-tractor, mainly because a former mayor of Kitchener used to attend St Matts and had the definition of "core" changed so that their sidwalk would be handled by the city (I don't think the walk on the other side of Church, where the rival Lutheran church is, gets done).

You might want to look at the solutions Montreal and Calgary have come up with for avoiding unnecessary expose to winter.

ObSF: Waydowntown.

Lots of underground development, right? Enclosure by different means.

Can't speak to Montreal, but Calgary is the city of the +15 (and occasionally the +30 and the +45) -- enclosed skybridges between the downtown skyscrapers. The number refers to the height above street level.

Toronto is mostly still underground: you can cover a fair chunk of downtown without having to go outside.

Still, tunnels and skyways are just constrained movement between buildings. I want to be able to go outside while being 'indoors', to be able to go jogging through grass and 50 degree weather while snow piles up outside the city walls, or to have a smart sunroof deflecting the worst of the summer sun from the whole city. Compared to the trillion person earth, such hubristic mastery of the local environment seems like little enough to imagine. It's not even large scale weather control!

---Whenever I go past a "self storage" place made of those things, I think, 'If only folks could'.

--Shipping containers are built better than mobile homes.-
If they need plumbing, community bathrooms,(and kitchens)would take care of that

"If they need plumbing, community bathrooms,(and kitchens)would take care of that"

ObSF: Caves of Steel

But I think calling a building made of stacked containers a "container city" is a bit of a leap. Really, this has nothing whatsoever to do with arcologies.

A friend of mine used to work for NOAA. When they went out to sea on research, they had their lab built into a shipping container. It meant that they could hitch a ride on any of a wide variety of ships, and most any port in the world had the equipment to load and unload it.

These containers are made to stack, and lock together (although there's been some issues with automatic and semiautomatic locking mechanisms) as deck cargo in rough seas, when fully loaded. Automatic and semiautomatic locking is desirable to reduce time and danger to the longshoremen during loading, which isn't an issue when they're used as housing.

And if they're stacked closely and two high, they make good fortifications. Unfortunately, Google doesn't have high-resolution photos of Tindouf.



I think I suggested the technology of containers-as-buildings in a past arcology thread here, as a way of making the thing less monolithic and more adaptable (find you're in the wrong place? call City and get the big crane to move your apartment!)

Big support struts; standard connections for water, sewerage, power, and fibre...and a honking gurt travelling gantry under the giant dome. Oh yes, here we are (http://james-nicoll.livejournal.com/1051761.html?thread=15488113#t15488113).

What's the headroom like in one of those things once you add overhead lighting, sound insulation, carpeting, etc. Googling suggests that the standard height of at least one brand of container is 7' 10", which would be less than the standard height of a finished room. New construction, at least here in the US, often has ceilings closer to 9' and AFAIK older houses are usually 8'. I wouldn't be surprised if a shipping container came in at 7' 6" or less when it's finished.

Do they make 6'+ people feel claustrophobic?

Err, they're designed to have as much interior volume as possible in the exterior volume. And building codes specify minimum ceiling heights of 7' 6", which gives 12" for top and bottom structures.
High cube containers are pretty common, which are a full foot taller. And why is overhead lighting needed? Cornice lighting works well.

I've been in a number of them, and never felt that the ceiling was particularly low.
Here's a photo of one of my friends, about 5' 10", in one:
http://www.dx-pedition.de/banaba2004/images/image_library/preparation--008.jpg
And it almost packed:
http://www.dx-pedition.de/banaba2004/images/image_library/preparation--009.jpg

Big support struts aren't necessary. They're designed to be self- supporting, even when empty.



Back when containers were new and high-tech, my mother opined that it would be cool to fit some up as house trailers, so that the railroad could haul your whole village to Florida in the fall, and haul you north again in the spring.

She envisioned a string of container parks, so that you spent a couple of weeks in each place, and turned around in Key West. (I don't think there's a railroad to Key west -- but they do have a port.)

Back then, only one street in the trailer park was fitted with sewers -- most people used the bath house. That would have considerably simplified the mobile village -- and made the parking spots rather expensive, unless one could find a use for the bathhouses during the other forty-eight weeks of the year.