The GM Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant is joining forces with the non-profit Michigan Urban Farming Initiative to build a homestead out of shipping containers. They plan to turn a shipping container into a sustainable home that will also come with a plot of farming land to cultivate. The home will be designed by TAKD Design and built by the Integrity Building Group of Detroit.

The shipping container they will use to build this home was donated by the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative. It measures 40 feet by 10 feet, which will yield 320 square feet of living space that will be taken up by 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen/dining area.


Most of the other resources for completing this project will be donated by GM. Approximately 85% of the materials needed to build the home will come from scraps collected at various GM plants. For example, the builders will use soundproof car insulation to insulate the home, and plywood repurposed from large shipping crates will be used for the interior walls. The battery cases of Chevys will be repurposed as birdhouses and planter boxes. GM employee volunteers will also be aiding in the construction process.

The finished home will have one bedroom on each side of the container. The center of the living area will be taken up by a bathroom with a shower, and a kitchen and dining area. Outside the home, there will be a spacious deck, while the exterior of the home will be left in its original, industrial form. To maximize the amount of natural light in the home, large floor to ceiling windows will be installed in both the bedroomsa. The entry door will be located in the center of the container.





The finished home will be placed near the headquarters of the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative and is expected to be finished by August. Once it is done, a university student is expected to move in and live in it year-round to manage the surrounding farm and conduct agricultural research.

For GM, helping to build this home is part of their long term sustainability strategy, which involves reusing or repurposing as many resources as possible and operating landfill-free facilities. The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative’s goal with this project is to slowly begin to reinvent urban agriculture and help the city of Detroit to be reborn.