We use cookies to give you the best personal experience on our website. If you continue to use our site without changing your cookie settings, you agree we may place these cookies on your device. You can change your cookie settings at any time but if you do , you may lose some functionality on our website . More information can be found in our privacy policy.
Please provide more information.
Stylus no longer supports Internet Explorer 7, 8 or 9. Please upgrade to IE 11, Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Edge. This will ensure you have the best possible experience on the site.
Brief Published: 3 Jun 2014

General Motors: Factory Homes

Shipping container home

An old shipping container is being turned into low-cost, sustainable housing thanks to a new initiative from US non-profit Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI) and American auto giant General Motors.

The 320 sq ft dwelling, made from more than 85% scrap materials, has two bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom and a living room. The conversion from shipping container to home will cost between $20,000-$25,000, with scrap materials and labour donated by General Motors.

The first occupant will be an intern for MUFI, who will live in the container all year round at the organisation's urban gardening centre in Detroit.

The project provides Detroit-based General Motors with an opportunity to rebuild trust and contribute to the city's ongoing rejuvenation. Its creators hope that the model will be replicated elsewhere.

"With Detroit-Hamtramck and the GM Foundation's help, the reality of a home made from recycled and reused materials on vacant land is sustainable for Detroit, or any big city in the midst of a comeback," said MUFI co-founder Darin McLeskey. "We hope this project serves as a source of inspiration and demonstration for many other similar housing types throughout the city."

Small, low-cost housing solutions are in high demand across the Western world, as more people choose to live alone and nomadic millennials put off the commitment of getting a mortgage and starting a family. For more, see our new Macro Trend Modern Family.