[ View the story "tiny houses" on Storify] tiny houses
AJAMStream· Fri, Nov 22 2013 12:39:14
Could you live in under 400 square feet? A small but growing number of Americans see tiny houses solving problems that
from rising home costs to the environmental impact of the ballooning average house size. Jay Shafer of
Four Lights Tiny House Company
is widely credited with starting the tiny house movement when he mounted a small home on a trailer in 1999. But he insists the structures are nothing new.
It’s unlikely that I would have ever built Tumbleweed if it hadn’t been for the hundreds of little houses on wheels I’d visited and seen in inspiring picture books, like Les Walker’s Tiny Houses, Jane Lidz’s Rolling Homes and Lloyd Kahn’s Shelter.fourlightshouses.com
This house on wheels, for example, dates back to the 1920s.
But now, some are looking at tiny houses to provide guidance on simpler living.
The movement has become popular online as enthusiasts
pictures of their small homes.
The Tumbleweed is a tiny house on wheels - you can tow it wherever the wind takes you! http://t.co/8jyxjNAT http://t.co/8ExdklFAinhabitat
Celebrate #AnOtherHappyMonday by picking your favourite retreat from the Tiny House Blog... http://t.co/MU0lAtGStQ http://t.co/gunJeMKMBPAnOtherMagazine
Some of the most popular photos show isolated tiny houses with pristine natural backdrops. In Washington, DC,
created a community to show what tiny living could look like in an urban setting.
On the website
Tiny House Design
, enthusiasts can download floor plans to build their own tiny homes, such as the one below.
Living small goes beyond tiny houses. Increasingly popular micro-apartments are taking hold from
. Felice Cohen's video tour of her 90-square-foot microstudio in Manhattan received over 5 million views on Youtube.
Simple life Manhattan: a 90-square-foot microstudiokirstendirksen
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
the pilot project adAPT NYC to develop affordable microunits across the city. The project asked developers to submit proposals for apartments smaller than what was previously allowed under city regulations.
Making of a Micro-UnitNYCHousing
But the tiny movement also has its critics. Tiny houses can run in to
issues with zoning and permit laws. Many of the small homes are on wheels so they can avoid problems with city zoning. Seattle residents, for example, worry about how the micro-apartments in their areas could change the face of their city.
Many community groups have made it their mission to halt this trend. They see this wave of microhousing as an invasive species. In their eyes, developers stand to get rich by transforming beautiful residential areas—defined by lawns and plentiful parking—into crowded, dilapidated slums of inhumanely small homes with shared kitchens and undesirable tenants.thestranger.com
legislation allowing for the construction of 220-square-foot micro-units last year. Some worry about the effect that the units, initially anticipated to cost around $1300 to $1500 a month, will have on already pricey apartments across the city.
"If they are going to be used for high-tech workers, they will end up having a gentrification effect and push rents up," said Ted Gullicksen, director of the San Francisco Tenants Union.articles.chicagotribune.com
But tiny house owners, even those who acknowledge that their style of living may not be suitable for everyone, do believe their movement has lessons to teach.
The tiny house movement does have something to offer. We can show people, if they are willing to look beyond our ridiculously small houses, is how to simplify and downsize, spend less and save more money, and have a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.tinyhousetalk.com
The Stream asked its community: what do you think about tiny living?
@AJAMStream that's not a house...that's not even a dorm room. Too high a price and too small. #noroom1Fizzle
@AJAMStream That's what I want when I move out... what does one person, or even a family of three have a two story house for? #MinimalistJ. (Earth First) T.
@AJAMStream I'm too claustrophobic, wouldn't enjoy that experience at all! *shivers*Mary Davis
@AJAMStream @AJAMStream if it keeps people from having to pay mortgage and despicable interest rates then yes.Hajji Ali. Davis
We have 2 Great Danes, don't think we would all fit.Laurie Equality Hartman