Small house movement
While in developed countries family size has been generally shrinking, in some countries family homes have grown in size, notably in the United States where the average size of new single family homes grew from 1,780 square feet (165 m2) in 1978 to 2,479 square feet (230.3 m2) in 2007. Reasons for this include increased material wealth and prestige.
In the USA in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, Marianne Cusato developed the Katrina Cottages that start at 308 square feet (28.6 m2) as an alternative to FEMA trailers. Though these were created to provide a pleasant solution to a disaster zone, Cusato received wider interest in her design from developers of resorts, for example.
With the financial crisis of 2007–2010 the small house movement attracted more attention as it offers housing that is more affordable in acquisition and maintenance and ecologically friendly. Overall, however, it represents a very small part of real estate transactions. Thus only 1% of home buyers acquire houses of 1,000 square feet or less. Small houses are also used as additions on the property, - for aging relatives or returning children, as a home office, or as a guest house. Typical costs are about $20–50,000 as of 2012.
Interest in very small homes has been revived in other countries: in Japan, where space is at a premium, Takaharu Tezuka has built the House to Catch the Sky in Tokyo, a 925-square-foot (85.9 m2) home for four; in Barcelona, Spain, Eva Prats and Ricardo Flores presented 300-square-foot (28 m2) House in a Suitcase; in England, Abito created intelligent living spaces apartments of 353 square feet (32.8 m2) in Manchester; and the Micro Compact Home (M-CH) is a high end small house developed by the British architect Richard Horton and the Technical University of Munich. The M-CH is a 76-square-foot (7.1 m2) cube, designed for 1–2 persons, and has functional spaces for sleeping, working/dining, cooking, and hygiene.
Pros and cons
Larger homes are more costly in terms of building, taxes, heating, maintenance and repair. In addition to costing less, small houses may encourage a less cluttered and complicated life and reduced ecological impact for their residents. The typical size of a small home seldom exceeds 500 square feet (46 m2).
Small houses may emphasize design over size, utilize dual purpose features and multi-functional furniture, and incorporate technological advances of space saving equipment and appliances. Vertical space optimization is also a common feature of small houses and apartments.
As small houses may be attractive as second homes, their increased utilization may lead to development of more land. People interested in building a small home can encounter institutional “discrimination” when building codes require minimum size well above the size of a small home. Also, neighbors may be hostile because they are afraid of a threat to their property values. However, this concern may be baseless as there is evidence that they actually increase property values through increases in density. There has also been opposition based on this fact, due to concerns about increased taxes.
- Sarah Susanka, Kira Obolensky The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live Taunton (1998), ISBN 1-60085-047-2
- Carmela Ferraro (February 21, 2009). "Small but perfectly formed". Financial Times.
- Al Heavens (June 14, 2007). "Smaller Could Be the Answer to a Lot of Issues.". Realty Times. Retrieved March 7, 2009.
- The Economist (February 19, 2009). "Very little house on the prairie". The Economist. Retrieved March 7, 2009.
- Brenoff, Ann (Oct. 22, 2012). "Downsizing: Could You Live In A Tiny Home In Retirement?". The Huffington Post. Retrieved Oct. 24, 2012.
- Lloyd Alter (July 10, 2008). "Home Delivery: The Micro Compact Home Comes To America". Treehugger. Retrieved March 7, 2009.
- Bethany Lyttle (February 16, 2007). "Think Small". New York Times.
- Carol Lloyd (April 27, 2007). "Small houses challenge our notions of need as well as minimum-size standards". SFGate. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
- unknown (April 27, 2007). "Laneway housing handout". SFGate. Retrieved March 4, 2009.
- Josh Dehass (November 13, 2008). "Laneway housing pilot proceeds despite opposition". UBC Journalism News Service. Retrieved July 27, 2012.
- Charlie Smith (April 10, 2008). "Anxiety grows over EcoDensity in Vancouver". straight.com. Retrieved July 27, 2012.
- Ned Jacobs (June 8, 2010). "The Vancouver neighbourhoods backlash continues". www.francesbula.com. Retrieved July 27, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Small houses.|
- "Tiny House Blog - Living Simply in Small Spaces" - A popular source for tiny house/small house information, established early 2007.
- "The Tiny Life - Tiny Houses Tiny Living" - A tiny house blog that focuses on simple living and tiny houses
- "Tiny House Design" - Designing tiny houses: tiny house plans, etc.
- "Tiny House Talk" - Small spaces more freedom
- "Tiny House Conference" - Biggest Tiny house gathering, tiny house workshops
- FAQ for a tiny house in Boise, Idaho
- "We the Tiny House People" - A documentary on YouTube
- Buyers Flock To Ridiculously Small Homes During Downturn - A slideshow at The Huffington Post
- Less is more: Simple living in small spaces - A video from BBC News