Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Posts Tagged urban

Tiny Houses In Cities

One questions that comes up a fair bit about tiny houses is what about tiny houses in cities?  Its a good question because currently over half of the world’s population lives in a city and we only expect that number to grow.  For the most part, tiny houses have existed in smaller towns, on the edge of a city or in rural locations.  But the truth is there are a lot of city dwellers that want to live tiny.

My go to response to the question about tiny houses in citiesimgpreview-2 is that we can still have tiny houses in the city, but most likely what we will do is take the design principals of tiny houses and then apply the to the design of apartments.  Essentially taking tiny houses and stacking them.  It is important to make sure that we don’t loose sight of our focus on design, make sure there is a strong connection with the outside, and to develop green spaces and public places for us to enjoy.

I think the biggest challenge of adapting tiny houses to a city is ensuring there is enough  natural light.  And I don’t mean window that only opens to a light shaft in the center of a building, at worst it would open to a open space within a building that is build around a large courtyard.  Having visited NYC several times, I couldn’t imagine living in a place where your only window was a mere few feet from a solid brick wall.  Honestly, I feel like humans should live like that; I feel like there should be at least one large window that allows your sight to extend a few thousand feet.

lifeedited-apartmentWhile I do technically live in a city – Charlotte, NC – its a very different kind of city.  You can easily pickup an acre lot here, go 20 minutes outside the city and you can get 10 acre lots.  There is a lot of woods still here and nature isn’t too far.  For me personally I just need to see lots of greens and browns, to have that connection with nature.  Something just clicks with me when I’m outside in the woods.

I say all this to point out that however we meet the needs of urban density and however we implement tiny houses in a city, we need to make sure there is  good connection with green spaces.  It is very important in tiny living because you really do need to extend your living space to the outdoor world, which means we need quality places to go to.

What got me thinking about all of this is an interesting project out of the school of Savannah College of Art and Design.  They posed an interesting question: as we transition to more public transportation, walkable cities and biking, what do we do with the vestiges of parking decks?scadpad-rendering

There response was to create modular units that could create housing out of parking decks.  At first it seems odd, but I realized the potential and some of the drawings are pretty neat!

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Urban Eden

For those of you who have been following, the Solar Decathlon is going on right now.  The Decathlon features innovative homes that are solar powered built by universities around the US.  Its a pretty big production as a dozen houses are constructed on site to compete and showcase to thousands of visitors.

Well my home city of Charlotte NC has a team going to the Decathlon from UNCC.  Here is their house called Urban Eden.  Some of the neat features of this house is the rolling solar panel array that allows you to control the solar exposure in the summer months.  They also have an interesting polymer cement that reduces the buildings impact.  Check out the video below to see it all!

 

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Urban Density

So just a few days ago I did a post on Japan’s new coffin apartments that are so small, you can’t even stand up in them, but rent for $600 a month!  Today I ran across another post about Hong Kong’s urban density.  The United States has a density of 88 people per square mile, while Hong Kong has 16,568 people per square mile!

It shows what an urban dense future could look like and allows us to understand what that would mean, more importantly hopefully perused us to keep an eye on our population growth.

These photos almost have an artistic quality to them, but then your realize people live in these.

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LaBanc House – 566 sq/ft

So this is a rather interesting story, the owner sleeps on a yoga mat, the site, a former meth lab.  I don’t have a clue why you would sleep on concrete with only a yoga mat, but that’s what the owner wanted when he described what he was looking for:

Imagine for a moment you’re an architect. You’ve got a client – a really nice guy – who tells you he sleeps on a yoga mat on the floor. And he wants a home that is so stripped of ornament that, to some eyes, it will seem stark and cold. Also, he’s a very private person who wants a place of quiet solitude, but located in a dense urban neighborhood.

Interesting proposition for an architect, but I really like the results!

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Edible Estates

Here is a great approach to how we can start to rethink the traditional construct of home and land.  Creating spaces that are no longer resource hogs, but useful and bountiful spaces is the key.

TreeHuggerTV joins Fritz Haeg to find out more about his Edible Estates project. Concerned with the global issues of land use and food production, he intends to transform the unused space of lawns into vegetable gardens.

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