In case you haven’t heard, they do things a little differently out west. They always have. But the latest developments in Berkeley are even more interesting than one would think. Berkeley resident Gregory Kloehn has been working at retrofitting shipping containers and dumpsters, into homes and even places of business in his Oakland, California warehouse sine 1999.

The concept has been dubbed the “Elite waste dumpster home”, and gives the notion of luxury to something that is widely regarded as a last resort housing situation for those who have lost everything. Amazingly, it has the works. A water system holds 6 gallons of water and an electrical system to power what it is you need inside.

This is an interesting way that people are innovating in times of crisis. Granted, there’s no insulation or a tap into a sewer system, but for those who are looking for an inexpensive way to live. The homes were showcased last month at the San Francisco Fringe Festival. Honestly, I can’t imagine a more appropriate venue for such a home.

Meanwhile, across the bay in San Francisco, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that construction dumpsters that are 16 feet long and 6 feet wide are being filled with greenery to provide mobile park and bench space. This shows not only another innovative way people are putting dumpsters to a good use other than trash, but it’s providing some much needed park space to a city with only 36 square miles and over 17k people per square mile.

Gregory Kloehn

Gregory Kloehn stands atop the world.

The idea is hit or miss amongst residents. While some people hang out in the mobile parks and enjoy themselves, San Francisco’s homeless population would look at as a place to relieve themselves. There’s also no doubt that parking guru Donald Shoup would despise the idea of free parking being taken up by 16 foot dumpsters for the sake of aesthetics.

Yet the mobile oasis is interesting. Innovation to bring park space to a city that has high density, but unlike New York, it does not have the space to allocate to green space the way that their east coast counterparts do.

Neither of these ideas completely sell me in terms of practicality. But they are the results of working minds who are striving to make the world a better place. It’s a small something now, maybe in the future it will be a big something. Only time will tell for sure. Meanwhile, let’s see where this goes!