Monday, March 01, 2010

HTSWL: The Small House Movement

“How Then Shall We Live?”

In keeping with our proposal at the start of this year, we are reviving a series from earlier years, on issues of affordable housing. Everyone hears about a shortage of it. Everyone reads about a city or county having special housing projects. But none of these address the issue on a large scale.

We've written here before about how, from 1950 to 2000, the average American home has doubled in size and hold half as many people. Until the recent bust of the housing bubble, virtually every developer wanted to emulate a string of mansions, one after the other, on a street named for the trees that were torn down to create it. One wonders how much less space people would buy if only it were available. Yet even now, in a city with hundreds of foreclosures in the past year, this writer is seeing "luxury condominium" projects take the place of more modest, if older, rental developments. And what if such a project cannot be assured of selling all its units right away? Turn them into "luxury apartments" which someone with the average income for the area might be able to afford. I make roughly that much, and I've been working for thirty years. But a kid right out of law school makes more than I do. Now, I can live without the amenities associated with so-called "luxury" housing. But if it's all that's being built ...

Developers will say they charge what the market will bear, which says something about all those subprime loans and subsequent foreclosures, doesn't it? Maybe what they really do is charge what the market will get away with. People cannot bear living beyond their means indefinitely. And there's a larger picture as well. Whatever one's opinion about the "global warming" scare, the reality is that the USA uses a disproportionately high percentage of the earth's resources. (This trend goes across the political/ideological spectrum.) In fact, it would take five to six planet Earths just to have the rest of the world live as well as we do -- assuming they could pay for it. I'm not sure we can.

With the coming of spring and the inevitable seasonal upshot in housing sales, mwbh hopes to devote several pieces to various efforts, both in theory and in practice, to bringing the people an affordable place to live. We will focus particular attention on what is known as the “Small House Movement” (or the "tiny house movement," whatever). These solutions tend to be no more than one thousand square feet, and even as small as one hundred square feet.

How about ten square feet? Sound incredible? Then stick around this month, because we're already working on the series. Meanwhile, watch the video from a local newscast in Texas.

To learn more about the Small House Society, click here.

Slide show courtesy of
Used without permission or shame.



Dad29 said...

What counts, of course, is the free space able to be devoted to the storage of guns and ammo.

David L Alexander said...

That's what the bunker is for.

John said...

I feel like its a misguided mentality to simply sit and wait for space to run out like it already has in much of Europe and East Asia.

Or rather, not sit and wait, but build more and more strip housing developments.

Sad. No sense of foresight in how we utilize and appreciate God's world.