Shipping container homes

"Scum villages" planned for Amsterdam

News: Amsterdam's problem families are to be moved to isolated caravans or shipping containers in the outskirts of the city under new plans announced by mayor Eberhard van der Laan.

The £810,000 programme will see social housing residents that continue to harass and intimidate their neighbours placed under surveillance for a period of six months. If they refuse to improve their behaviour, they will then be faced with eviction and relocation to one of several special units.

The new communities have been dubbed "scum villages" following earlier statements from right-wing campaigner Geert Wilders, who told Dutch newspaper the Telegraaf that offenders should be completely separated from society. "Repeat offenders should be forcibly removed from their neighbourhood and sent to a village for scum," he said.

Van der Laan's spokesman Bartho Boer has denied claims that the initiative will create "scum villages" and insists that the plans will encourage good behaviour and improve communities. "A neighbourhood can deal with one problem family but if there are more the situation escalates," he told Dutch News.

According to Boer there are over 13,000 complaints of anti-social behaviour every year in Amsterdam from victims of abuse and homophobia. Frequently it is these law-abiding tenants that are forced to move, rather than their nuisance neighbours.

"The aim is not to reward people who behave badly with a new five-room home with a south-facing garden. This is supposed to be a deterrent," he said.

Shipping containers are already being used for student housing in Amsterdam, but a set of ten have been set aside as a trial project for the scheme, where several persistent offenders have been housed under 24-hour supervision.

Another Amsterdam project that will use shipping containers is temporary retail centre Boxpark, set to open next year. Shipping containers are also being increasingly used as housing in other countries, including as emergency accommodation for victims of natural disasters in Japan. See more stories about shipping containers on Dezeen »

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Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.