Barcelona's shipping container homes as social housing fix (The Guardian, 6 September 2019)

  • Sardine tins for the poor?: Barcelona's shipping container homes

  • Published in The Guardian on 6 September 2019

  • Summary:

    • The Barcelona municipality has begun installing its first shipping container homes just outside of La Rambla in a bid to provide emergency housing for people who have been evicted or driven out of the neighbourhood by gentrification. The total cost of the scheme in Barcelona is €940,000.

    • The container scheme was initially rejected by the council for fear tenants would feel stigmatised, but with over 1,000 people on the emergency housing list it was soon revived. Barcelona has an extremely low level of public housing – 1.5% of the total stock, compared with 28% in Berlin.

    • There has been criticism of similar schemes in the Netherlands where student residences were built within containers, but there were cold and noisy; and in Ealing, west London. The children’s commissioner for England criticised these container flats as unsuitable and unsafe, and residents have said they are cramped, stiflingly hot in summer, and too cold in winter.

  • Keywords: Spain, Barcelona, public housing, social housing, affordability, container homes, shipping container, housing conditions