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GM To Build Houses?

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On: Mon, May 5, 2014 at 9:33AM | By: Karen Cook


GM To Build Houses?

My youngest son didn’t leave the nest willingly. Unable to meet the requirements for continued parental support, he was left with few options for suitable accommodation. We suggested a cardboard box under the overpass was within his means. Ok, so it wasn’t quite so dire (although we did make this proposal). It’s too bad he didn’t know someone at GM or the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative.

The two companies have teamed up to build a house from a standard shipping container. GM is providing most of the materials for the project, all from scrap coming out of the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, Brownstown Assembly, GM Technical Center, and GM Component Holdings facilities. Leftover vehicle sound-deadening material will be used to insulate the structure, plywood from shipping boxes provide walls, and wooden shipping pallets are made into furniture. Even Volt battery cases are repurposed as planter boxes. Even people living in boxes can be house-proud.

The container provides 320 square feet of living space with the dimensions being 40ft long, 8ft wide and 10ft tall. In the small area there are two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen.

It’s a pretty inventive way to provide housing to urban farmers. According to Doneen McDowell, the Detroit-Hamtramck Plant Manager, “This innovative project allows our facility to give back even more and be an integrated community partner while reusing materials that would otherwise be discarded.”

When the house is built, it will be occupied by a university student for one year during which time he/she will tend the surrounding farm and conduct research. I guess there won’t be any danger of foreclosure for the student, but I wonder if possible recalls will keep him/her awake at night?


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