The home page of this blog's website, planningdesignbda.com, features two sections: What are the possibilities? and In Bermuda? The topics discussed under these general headings change periodically but, at present, In Bermuda? highlights options for container living on our island.
Yes. Taking refurbished shipping containers and using them for housing, storage, as studios and as home offices, etc. This is not uncommon in other countries where, for example, a large supply of student housing is needed.
Is it outrageous in the context of Bermuda? I don't think so. Setting aside, for a moment, the not insignificant matter of the "Bermuda Image," container houses are inexpensive. In Bermuda, there is a need for emergency housing for the homeless. If and when a new hotel is erected, staff housing will be needed. More immediately, Bermuda hosts the Island Games in 2013 and accommodation for up to 2000 athletes is required.
Given the apparent number of condominiums on the market, though, I can hear realtors saying now "We don't need more housing! It'll drive down prices further!" You know what? Not far enough for the 45% of the population that is still renting (2010 Census of Population & Housing Final Results, p.37). Having said that, I don't see Bermudians flocking to live in containers. Unfortunately, we are not a people to whom change comes easily.
The container "living" options I believe are realistic in the short-term are those mentioned above: home offices, art studios, storage, temporary housing for guests, staff or the homeless and small businesses (similar to our lunchwagons).
What about the Bermuda Image? Well, there are cladding materials that will add a certain Bermuda 'look' to a container's external appearance, although I'm not sure that is necessary. I don't believe in hiding the true nature of an object. A container is a container, not a Wil Onions cottage.
It is past time to reconsider our living options, particularly in a recession period.