As I make my way to a Tiny Life, I have recently started a garden to grow my own vegetables. To be honest I rather suck at it but Things are growing and I have been able to make about a metric ton of pesto so far. Today I found these really neat ideas for how to maximize space and grow food also.
Bigger is not necessarily better. Bigger can certainly be beautiful! And there is nothing inherently wrong in bigger. But bigger can be quite costly in both the short and long term and can bring with it many headaches.
It’s important to be compassionate: many of us could not but help buy into the belief that as we grew up that we, too, could purchase the type of homes our parents did– homes just as “spacious” and stately– even if we were raised in a row home or semi-detached dwelling.
But for chiefly economic reasons– many of which readers of “The Tiny Life” are aware– the purchase (and sustaining) of long-term mortgages has become less likely, less possible, and fraught with more risk.
For the sake of example, let’s suppose you and I can purchase such a home. My father worked for a corporation and was employed 33 consecutive years with that same employer before he retired. In general, such job security today, let alone with a single employer, is not the norm nor the reality for the vast majority of us.
Therefore, taking on a 20-35 year mortgage brings with it the worries of what will happen if one or both incomes become imperiled. What happens to our long-term investment if 23 years into our 25-year mortgage we lose either our jobs or our health? What if savings and the help of family &/or friends is not enough to “save” our home?
If you spend any time in NYC, LA or other large cities you notcie what James Kunstler calls “nature bandaids” click here for my post and his video But what about when you combined a bagel factory & dirt? In NYC an old bagel factory had its roof top converted from 6000 square feet of sheet metal to a viable farm!
Ben Flanner launched this project after feeling that he had his fill of working for E-Trade and when he saw how many folks around were turning to growing their own food, he jumped at the chance. He partnered with several folk from botanists, gardeners, farmers and a green roof architect firm to make his dream a reality.
The farm is already being harvested and being sold to local restaurants as the closest to source vegetables available. Ultimately he hopes to set up a stand where he can sell to people of the community to keep it all as local as possible.
While I may have a Tiny Lifestyle blog, I have always been trying to really hone in on what the Tiny Lifestyle truly is. It is more than just owning a tiny house; it is a culmination of many things which leads us to a life which addresses human needs that we find are absent in our lives. It’s seeking more time, discovering ourselves and loved ones. It’s getting back in touch with nature; I would even go as far as saying there is a spiritual side to it as well.
I feel that the course we are going on as humans isn’t sustainable in both ecological and psychological terms. With so many humans on this earth we are feeling cramped, we lack room to roam, time to be and other needs of the human condition. What does this all have to do with Urbanism?
Like I said the way we live today isn’t sustainable in many ways, we must rethink, reengineer and adjust our behaviors. With 6.5+ billion people on this world urbanism will happen and we have to be smart about it.
So today I want to share these a few videos (if you only watch one, take time for the first it’s phenomenal) about building better. There are many people who are part of the Tiny House Movement that do so in an urban setting. For those of you whom are a bit more remote, while these things talk about cities and urban area, there are undoubtedly gems we can gleam. Whether these ideas are used to develop your community, your own tract of land or a small community of tiny houses, these ideas are invaluable for the backwoods or cities alike.
While this isn’t a traditional Tiny Home, I really loved the modern feel and of course the insane water catchment potential and look of this roof. This house is still about 1,200 square feet smaller than a typical American home. You can see several large tanks off the back of the house which is used to collect rain water from the roof. One square foot of roof can yield ½ a gallon of water from 1 inch of rain. So roughly estimating for this roof, one inch of rain yields over 1200 gallons of water!
The house is also cleverly designed to have an upper roof as primary shelter and sun shade and then there is a roof on the actually home’s structure. This is brilliant because the main roof is topped with highly reflective metal, reducing heat absorption. Then there is an air space between the main roof and the home’s roof to prevent any transference of heat to the home itself. The space allows wind to cool both sides of the upper roof and keeps you cool below.