Yesterday I was talking about tiny houses with another tiny house aficionado when the topic of how do tiny houses intersect with the need in the future for more urban density. There have been several studies suggesting that in order to meet the needs of the future, more and more people are going to have to live in cities. The land around cities will also have to be shifted to agricultural spaces to support these cities with food that can be produced within a few hours travel time.
So what do tiny houses mean for this potential future? Tiny houses provide a living laboratory for people to try out different design ideas, utility systems, storage solutions, and learn lessons that can be taken and applied to small sustainable housing of the next evolution of the city. I have been asked many of times: “how do you think you’ll get the same density with tiny houses as you do apartment buildings?” The simple answer is I’m not.
In a city setting essentially you could have same interiors, but the outside form would be one that is stack-able. Since you can’t have side wall windows or a sky light, we are going to have to make the end walls floor to ceiling windows to get enough light in. We will need to design as part of the master plan, outdoor living spaces that people actually want to hang out in, with roof top gardens, building courtyards, local community gardens, and great parks.
In the suburbs and rural areas I’d expect to see more mini villages pop up in the form of co-housing projects. These villages would most likely allow people who want to live in the country do so, but also be the hubs for agricultural activities for themselves and the cities.
I struggle personally with the notion that we may be faced with living more and more in dense cities because I am one that likes room to roam, a quite place to sit and think and green space to be in. Here in Charlotte, while it is a very sizable city, I live on several acres. I have been fortunate enough to travel a good bit and even cities that have done a really good job with their parks and green spaces, I still find myself feeling smothered by tall buildings and concrete. Cities certainly offer a lot to do, but there is something deep inside of me that resonates with being outdoors in the woods. Something that I fear no high density city will be able to provide me with.
- How do you see the future of housing?
- What will the cities and country look like for a sustainable future?