Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Tiny Living: City Vs. Country

When it comes to living the tiny life which is better? The city life or the country life? With the ability to move your home the possibilities are endless. Having recently made the switch from urban to rural tiny lifestyle, we’re assessing the transition. Here are some advantages and disadvantages we’ve experienced in La Casita.

The majority of folks I’ve talked to who live in a tiny house do so for economic reasons as well as ecological ones. Those were the big motivating factors for Cedric and I. Living lighter on the earth is of great interest to us as is meeting our needs with less money so our recent move got me thinking: is living the tiny life in the country greener and more economically sound than living in the city? In the city we rode our bikes to work, the americanogrocery store, the bowling alley, restaurants and most of our friends’ houses. Now that we’ve moved to a more rural area I find I’m driving a lot more. I definitely feel dependent on our vehicle rather than my bike. For me, living the tiny life isn’t just about houses, it’s my intention in everyday experiences. Being dependent on a car does not satisfy my need for a more intentional, regenerative existence.

There’s also the added expense of car dependency. Gas is more costly here than down south. Plus, with winter still in full swing we had had to buy a set of studded tires so we could get out of our driveway!  We’re both feeling as though it takes a lot more stuff to live the country life in the north than it did the city life in the south.

P1000287When it comes to aesthetics living rural has living urban beat-even in the winter! Life out in the country is proving exceptionally beautiful and much more quiet than our life in Charleston. There’s also a lot more privacy. Walking out the door in the city often met with someone staring at the house and wanting to know more about it. I loved talking with passer-bys but when you’re getting stared at on the regular, it starts to feel invasive. Plus, being packed in next to other houses does not provide the most scenic view. Here in Vermont we look out to the woods and up to a mountain and at night the stars are stunning. I’m definitely sleeping better at night without my next door neighbors yelling and drinking in to the wee hours of the evening!

Air and water quality are other big factors. In Charleston, we lived by the highway and after one year there is noticeable exhaust and street crust on our house. It’s disgusting to think that that’s not only sticking to our lovely Cyprus siding but also our lungs. It’s going to take a good bit of work to sand off the black dust and re-oil the house. Even if we had lived in the greenest area of Charleston, it’s a port city and air and water quality are not great. There’s fluoride and chlorine but out on the mountain we have crisp, clean spring water and excellent air quality with little industrial or transport pollutants in the air. Building a tiny house was definitely about living a healthier lifestyle and it feels much more so here in the country than it ever did in the city.

P1000256Living in a tiny house requires the ability to move out beyond its walls on a regular basis in order to maintain emotional balance. In the city this often meant hopping on a bike and going to the park. In the country it means stepping out the front door and taking a walk through the woods. Both satisfy the need for spaciousness that Cedric, me and our pup Asher often crave living in a tiny house. We seem to be able to take care of this need equally well whether in the city or the country, it’s just a matter of preference. Asher, however, definitely prefers the woods to the city and we are more relaxed now that we don’t have to worry about cars. I have to admit I am worried some animal might mistake him for a tasty rabbit, especially when coyotes are howling nearby!

Besides quality of life, the other advantages and disadvantages pertain to anyone trying to make the decision to live rural or urban. The city is more convenient in terms of job density and meeting daily needs although for tiny houses it can prove more difficult when it comes to zoning. After one year in Charleston, a city zoning official came through our neighborhood looking for us. We moved just in time but I can’t say I was surprised when my neighbor called to tell me the city had come searching. We’d been waiting for it.  Rural areas tend to have less stringent codes when it comes to building so for a tiny house dweller it can prove less stressful.

DSCN3040The most exciting thing for me living rural is a big garden. In the city we had limited space to grow.  Although, you could argue that in cities vertical gardening and creative use of space can greatly increase your growing power. I’ve certainly seen some very clever ways that people use small spaces to grow quite a bit of plants!  In the country,  we have acres to work with and providing ourselves with the bulk of our summer food is looking like a reality. That’s something we were not able to accomplish in the city and we’re looking forward to the challenge of growing on a larger scale.

No matter where you end up, every locale will have it challenges and rewards. When it comes to the city vs. country debate it’s a highly personal choice. It’s important to assess your needs and the best way those needs can be met by your home and its location. I’m enjoying living life more remotely but I can appreciate the aspects of city living as well. Ultimately, our home has proven itself a wonderful space whether in an urban setting or a rural setting and to me that flexibility is the key to a positive tiny house experience.

Your Turn!

  • Are you a country mouse or a city mouse?
  • What advantages or disadvantages do you experience in rural or urban living?
  • What challenges have you faced living the tiny life in the city and/or country?

 

 

 

15 Comments
  1. I agree with you completely, city vs country is a highly personal choice. However, what’s important is that you have a house that allows you to experience both and then choose which one you prefer. Having that freedom is so wonderful! Great post, thanks.

    • Thanks for the kind words Jammie! Freedom is essential to contentment and I’m very glad we had the forsight to build a four seasons tiny house or it wouldn’t be possible to be where we are now! I’m very grateful to the flexibility of our home.

  2. I too have lived in the city and in the country. when in the country lists are so important, that way you make one trip to town to buy supplies etc. City you just walk down the stree or bike. I really agree about the freedom the country gives you. and citys do have dirty air etc. my dogs will say country if better mom. and i agree with them. My neighbors live almost on top of me and weekend parties, shouting, music, unthoughtful neighbors up till 4-5 am make it hard to be happy. Can’t wait till i’m able to move to my 6 acres in missouri, aahhh peace and quiet.

  3. Did you solve the legal issues of parking a tiny house in Vermont?

    • No I haven’t figured out all the details yet but we’ve met a couple tiny house owners who we’re having over to talk about rules and regulations with. If you’d like an update I can let you know once we get the info.

    • So I found out that Vermont as a state does not have regulations on house size but certain cities do. Some areas don’t allow you to live in a tiny house full time but I haven’t figured out which areas those are. You have to have septic system if water is coming in to your dwelling no matter the size.

  4. I have a part-time life in each but I really like a kind of in-between option of living in (actually more on the edge of) a small village. City life can be fulfilling and exciting, but living there and getting around to various things can get expensive and tiring. All I need is a library, grocery/basic retail, a cafe or two and an interesting community to be part of with enough privacy to enjoy as needed. My country spot (a too-small Boler hopefully soon to be replaced with an 8×20 tiny house)is a bit further from the village than makes for easy access but is otherwise ideal. My city spot is a tiny basment studio in my son’s house. I can get from urban to rural using just public transit, ferry and walking, no need for a vehicle.

    • Thanks Alice for your insight. My ideal is exactly what you have. Part-time in the city and part-time in the country but I haven’t been able to find that balance yet. We are living in a small village but with all the amenities you list and we only live 2 miles from the village center so it’s as ideal as my style of country living can get. Plus, once warm weather is here the village is incredibly lively and fun! Relying on the car is tough though and I’m not the type to ride in 20 degree weather when it’s snowing although my fiancee loves it!

  5. I to have lived in both situations, and although living in a town or large city certainly has some advantages, especially if you like the “night life” as they say, I have come to a point where I would much prefer the rural life, just outside of town so those resources are not that far away, but enough outside of town to reap the rewards of rural life, for example, the peace and quiet, the privacy, the closer relationships with your neighbors (country folk), the water without the poisons they add, and for me a big one on the list is being able to see the stars in their full glory, great post!

  6. I agree with you that it is definitely a personal choice. I prefer the country, but many people prefer the city.

    And you do have to a lot more things to live in the country, whether you are in the north or the south. Our house isn’t even finished and we already have a workshop almost as large as the house and will soon need a storage shed. And yes, we need everything there. You have to have more tools on hand and more spare parts when the nearest big box store is 30 minutes away.

  7. Great post and so nice to hear of another person who has done “the city and country living thing”. I grew up in a large suburb of NYC and later spent many years loving the city life in Philadelphia. But life did as it does and threw me a curve ball – setting up a series of circumstances warranting a move to a rural shore community (living in a 700 square foot apartment with my husband – small but not tiny tiny). Big change and I did it kicking and screaming – literally. But over two years since that move, I am now so grateful for what life gave me. I would have never willingly made this move and it has grown my life in so many new and happier directions. Sure, I miss the radio stations, some of the people and the ethnic food but I love the quiet and simple living of where I am now. I spent so many years thinking and believing that “the city way of life” was THE only way to be and I am so glad that I learned otherwise.

  8. We live in a small town in a rural Southern area. Fortunately, we have a Dollar General store, gas station with deli, beauty salon, dog groomer, small bank, and a few other small businesses. For fresh veggies it is a 6-mile trip oneway to the nearest grocery store. Which can be easily done with a bicycle and trailer. 12 miles oneway and you can reach a big city with all the big box stores. We usually plan and make lists before driving the car to the city. There are trees, hedgerows, and yard space between us and our neighbors. Although we are only about 100 yards from town hall, we are back away from the road in the trees, have more trees behind us, along with cow pastures and a fishing pond. Originally, we were only going to live here 6 months … it has been almost 6 years now. Sure, we don’t like the heat and humidity in the summer time. But we love Fall, Winter, and Spring. I think we have the best of both worlds … even for an older couple.

  9. I am not a city person. Even suburbs are too much for me. I love small towns. It seems the best of both worlds to me. I can have neighbors, be close to the library and happenings in town, but still be so close to nature. My small town grocery is pretty limited, especially on whole, raw foods, so about once a month I make the 40 mile round trip into a nearby town and stock up. The rest I order online in bulk.

    That is one thing to think about; living in a small town I often need to travel far to buy items, so I stock up. That means room to store items, so for me something like a Park Model would be great, but a tiny house would be too small.

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  11. Thank you so much for posting this. I have an english presentation thing on January 6 about country life is better than city life and this is so helpful:D

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