Green Capital: Container Living Possible in Vancouver, B.C.?

Not far from the shipping docks, where the Long Shore-men work the days and nights away, stroll up to Nick's for a huge bowl of spag', is the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver (DTES). Not only do we have the worlds best Safe Injection Site there, Canada's Poorest Postal Code has many problems with unemployment, poverty, drug use, crime, and sex trade. The "Gentrification of the DTES" has been a contentious issue because as reno-victions happen, so does displacement of the people living there. It's a vicious circle, but no one is more important that the women living in the DTES.

Container living

  • 320 square feet per unit
  • Self-contained studio
  • House women from 15 to 18 years old, avoiding group homes
  • Individual kitchen
  • Full bathroom
  • A floor to ceiling window at the front of each unit
  • Steel shell would be drywalled and insulated with spray foam.
  • Cost would be about $85,000 per unit (12 units planned)
  • Compared to a new permanent building at Abbott and Pender being built for Atira cost about $250,000 per unit.


"This is an issue I've been very concerned about [is] liveability," says City Councilor Kerry Jang. "I mean, as soon as you say the word 'container,' people think you're just warehousing people."

And this is a very valid point. But the whole idea stops short when this type of housing becomes labeled as "temporary" - not the place between things, but the structure. Yup, it's "temporary". Is it Just like Expo 86, but better? Somehow? I don't know. I'm a bit disappointed that these has a) taken so long to get thru the red tape, b) is temporary structure for a temporary solution, c) isn't being looked into deeper and forced on all the overseas land owners sitting on property, undeveloped, useless, in our greater downtown area.

Zigloo, a Victoria B.C. company who designs and sells permanent container living space designs, has done an amazing job of putting it all together for the low price of $750 USD per construction package.

If City Council approves, the units could be available to live in by September 1.