What we think of as shipping containers are actually called intermodal containers, because they are designed to work with several different modes of transportation. A shipping container is a container with strength suitable to withstand shipment, storage, and handling.

The box on a boxcar train, a stack of them on a cargo ship and the boxes hauled around by cranes in shipyards are all the same. They were designed for exactly this modularity, and have become ubiquitous around the world. So much so that many cities are finding they have to deal with excess shipping containers in a number of ways.

Restrictions in a Port City

In some places around the world, shipping containers have proven to be a boon for local artists, students and other creative types. How is this possible?

Take Seattle for example. As one of the largest ports in the United States, Seattle is filled with containers in every stage of use. Shelter Kraft is a new company on the scene taking advantage of the older shipping containers that have no current use beyond cluttering the skyline.

Shelter Kraft takes these containers and remodels them into self-contained living spaces. They have modern appliances. They have recycled cardboard countertops. They have low energy lighting. They're recycled, they're green and they're affordable. Best of all, they're made out of containers, so they're by default highly mobile.