Did you know that councils and local government can use storage containers for more than just storage? nnRunning a council is a precarious balancing act, an exercise in keeping tens of thousands of people content while balancing the books. If a council adds an after schools programme at one end they might have to take away a recycling scheme at the other – it’s no wonder local governments are looking for ever more ingenious ways to keep pitchfork wielding crowds at bay. With this in mind, it comes as little surprise that an increasing number are looking into the range of benefits that storage units can bring – it’s out of the box thinking, just with more boxes. n
Solving the housing shortage
nBack in the early 2000s, the people of Amsterdam were faced with an issue. There simply wasn’t enough affordable housing to meet the growing number of fresh-faced students looking to rent a place in the city. Fortunately, an idea was hatched, and soon pre-assembled shipping containers were being used as homes to create a student campus in the heart of the city.nnAlthough people were initially sceptical, the “Keetwonen” Project quickly won over students and locals alike, providing a comfortable living space that formed part of a wider community. In fact the project became so successful that the homes, neatly stacked on one another, were granted the right to stay until 2018 – not bad considering they were initially only supposed to stay for five years.nnSince then there have been examples of this approach used around the world. From San Francisco to Mumbai, all the way to a village half an hour from Buenos Aires. It seems as though the UK has recently jumped on this particular train too, with homes popping up in Brighton, Bristol and Ealing – just to name a few. Not only do these create great opportunities for young professionals, there are also dedicated developments created with the aim of providing much needed temporary accommodation for the homeless. n
Having some fun
nCouncils could do worse than to take a leaf out of Melbourne’s books, where local architects Phooey have created an inspirational playground from four repurposed shipping units. Not only does it teach children the value of sustainability from a young age, it’s also an art piece unto itself, painted with a striking monochrome theme.nnOf course they could always go a step further and get their inspiration from “Container park” in downtown LA. That’s right, it’s a container based theme park that incorporates a range of upcycled attractions. Admittedly the latter might not be the best use of public funds, but hey, one can always dream. n
nWith many people looking towards a more local and sustainable way of providing food for the table, it’s no wonder that container farms have been put forward as a potential solution. The idea is similar to that of an allotment, except plants are stacked on shelves in a container instead. This saves space, allows food to grown throughout the year and presents a great chance to engage and educate the community in food production.nnContainer farms have already found popularity throughout the world, mainly because they can be assembled elsewhere then simply dropped in place, ready to go (or grow, if you’d prefer). In much the same way that an allotment is made from a series of small patches, a container farm can be grown simply by joining (or even stacking) these units together. Farming vertically as well as horizontally makes these incredibly space efficient, plus older containers can be repurposed – another lesson in upcycling. n
nIf you think about it, shipping containers make fantastic retail spaces, allowing small local businesses to launch themselves without being priced out by high rental prices. In a world of identikit high-streets, fostering these unique and characterful companies is a sure-fire way to inject life back into an area. If in doubt look no further than “Hatch”, a shipping container development in the centre of Manchester’s thriving Oxford Road. Currently housing a selection of the city’s most exciting food and drinks entrepreneurs, members of the public can visit for vibrant tacos, real Jamaican street food and even organic wines. n
nIt’s an obvious answer, yet councils often find themselves with a whole range of items that need storage throughout the year. Christmas trees, spools of bunting and thousands upon thousands of collapsible chairs; you name it, the chances are that, somewhere, there’s a cupboard bursting at the seams holding it. nnBy using shipping containers for item storage, councils can free up room in public buildings, helping them to be better used for their real purpose. Not only are storage containers the most efficient way of storing these goods, they’re also one of the most secure.nnGetting a container from Unit Hire means that it comes with security that can be trusted, allowing councils to do what they do best: help their people. If you want to find out more about the many benefits of local governments using storage containers then get in touch! We’d be delighted to help.