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From seagoing shipping container to tiny home

Turning seagoing shipping containers into residences isn't a new idea for Detroit.

But for the first time, such a home will become a reality.

The project is the brainchild of the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, which has a farm in Detroit.

Vice president Darin McLeskey says the container will be placed where a blighted home once stood.

"So it's another way to trim the cost of clearing out blight – by leaving utilities and a foundation in place," he said at a press conference at GM's Detroit Hamtramck plant.

General Motors is providing recycled insulation and other building materials from its plants for the home.

McLeskey acknowledges the container, at 320 square feet, will be on the cozy side.

"But I think what we're doing with our design, is we have things like a Murphy bed, that will create a more open room for office space. We have these barn doors that open up so in the summer you can have an indoor/outdoor kitchen – and it's going to have a very large wrap-around porch on it."

About 85% of the materials used to make the container into a home are recycled or reused, including glass freezer doors for picture windows.

The shipping container home will house one or two people who are working on the Detroit farmstead. Work on building the home is expected to begin later this month.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.