The Enduring Attraction of Containerized Urbanism

Architectural historian Mitchell Schwarzer traces the historic roots of container architecture and argues that today's shipping container developments, like Proxy in San Francisco, are leading the way to a new kind of urbanism.

The repurposed shipping container has become a fixture of urban architecture — part of a movement, as Schwarzer argues, toward an "urban design as flexible, responsive and electric as the currents that feed it."

On Places, Schwarzer examines the rise of container urbanism from the mid 20th century to now, from Archigram and the Metabolists in the '60s to the pop-up markets and modular housing of today; and he sees in this latest phase a "landmark change" for architecture.

"By facilitating an almost instant building complex," he writes, "the containers put architectural production more in sync with the speed and transitoriness of contemporary life, forcing it to respond to a city’s many complex, adaptive systems."

Full Story: The Emergence of Container Urbanism


Brand new! Urban Grid City Collection

Each city has its own unique story. Commemorate where you came from or where you want to go.
Grids and Guide Red book cover

Grids & Guides

A notebook for visual thinkers. Available in red and black.

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245

Get the "Green Bible" of educational planning books

Understand the complexities of planning at the local level while preparing for the AICP* exam. Find out why this edition is included in the APA's recommended reading list.