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!


  1. Love the Tiny houses and this is off topic but you gave me a little chuckle on the discussion of what to do with the parking decks. While in Desert Storm about 100,000 of us lived in the parking deck at King Fahd airport. Space was divided up by rank. As an E7 I was allocated 2 parking spaces. We were very creative, had canvas/tent walls and used left over lumber to make bed frames, shelving units and one of my soldiers made me a small desk. Thanks for afternoon memory and smile.


    • Cindy, that is so funny, my mom was stationed at King Fahd’s tent city, with the Air Force Hospital group that set up by the water tower, during Desert Sheild/Storm. I have heard many stories about how her and her roommate combined forces to make their allocated space as large and functional as possible. Even using the tall storage dresser that she made, as their space divider and attaching a fold away table so that they could have their coffee in the mornings, in their rooms. 🙂 I enjoyed reading ur post…thanks for sharing

      • Tiffany, too funny…this is your Mom. While searching this world wide web, i look down and there you are sharing one of my memories of Desert Storm. Love you

  2. Tiny houses should look in to Granny Pods and Synergy Home Health Care to make this doable for seniors and disabled persons. I don’t know how you would do that in an environmentally safe way but I’ll leave that to the experts:-)

  3. My daughters and I have been homeless very over a year, with no way to save cash, to pay 1st and last month, to 0move in a place.

  4. Hello, my daughters and I have been homeless for over a year now.i cannot afford to put any cash aside, to move in to a place. Please if somone could help me get a tiny place,that woulds be the best gift.my daughters are 12&13. Maybe even a tiny house with 3 little bedrooms. That would be awsome..thankyoy

  5. I live condo in the city. Living in a smaller apartment with more people around me does not sound appealing at all. It also makes you a renter not an owner. Next thing you know the rent is going up for everyone. Someone backs big money renting more units. If I can’t get a little yard what’s the point. This does not all sound like the freedom I’m looking in a smaller home.

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