Haitian Canadian musician Luck Mervil is leading the charge to help rebuild Haiti with houses made from repurposed shipping containers. Mervil is behind the Montreal organization Vilag Vilag, which wants to use 900 shipping containers to build an entirely new village west of Port-au-Prince fit for 5,000 people. The organization aims to build sustainable and long-term housing in Haiti — and eventually elsewhere — with the help of local Haitians.
Mervil, who has put his own career aside to work on this important project, expects the entire community to cost around $25 million and has been ardently working to raise the funds. The new village will be built on a parcel of previously uninhabited land near Leogane, a coastal city west of Port-au-Prince. A prototype shipping container house was built in Canada in 10 days for between $8,000 and $10,000, and Mervil expects the costs to be much lower in Haiti.
The village will consist of a series of 900 shipping containers grouped together in a grid and separated by open space, parks, and playing fields. Both 40 and 20-foot containers will be used to construct durable, long-term and hurricane and earthquake resistant homes. Each home will offer roughly 320 sq feet of living space with running water and bathrooms. The village will also be self-sufficient, with space for companies to set up shop so that villagers can work and support themselves.