Katrina Cottages reused as permanent residential and commercial structures

Ever thought about picking up a FEMA trailer for a permanent home? Doubtful… these temporary housing units that became famous after Hurricane Katrina not only weren’t designed for permanent residence, but have all the character of, well, government housing.

But those trailers weren’t the only housing option available to storm and flood victims: the Katrina Cottage was developed in Jackson, Mississippi weeks after the storm  as both a “dignified alternative” to those white trailers. The cottage had all of the emergency preparedness features of the trailers — modular and easily transportable — but also were designed for transition to permanent structures (that could be built out if an owner desired).

Nearly five years after the storm, Katrina Cottages are making that transition: Kaid Benfield at SustainableCitiesCollective points to a number of examples of cottages turned into permanent residential and commercial structures. Among the developments using Katrina Cottages:

A developer in Buena Vista, Colarado will use them for an infill site within walking distance of downtown. They’ll provide affordable alternatives to the much larger houses also planned for the area.

On the Florida panhandle, cottages will be used as part of the Seaside Academic Village, an institution dedicated to study, discussion, and innovation in the field of New Urbanism.

My favorite of the projects, though, goes back to the scene of the storm itself: Cottage Square in Ocean Springs, Mississippi (which was a really picturesque little town before the storm). This mixed-use, walkable  2-acre development will ultimately deploy 23 of the cottages for both homes and businesses. Check out the video walkthrough below for a look at Cottage Square’s progress and future plans.

Apparently, the plan for this building concept worked… so you don’t even need to consider hunting for a FEMA trailer. Know of other places using Katrina Cottages? Tell us about them.


Image: a now-permanent and modified Katrina Cottage home in Diamond Head, MS Credit: FEMA at Wikimedia Commons