Are Tiny Homes a Solution to the Housing Crisis?

A 1,400-square-foot modular cottage from Impresa Building Systems was part of an outdoor display of modestly sized homes. Credit…Mikayla Whitmore for The New York Times

Excerpted from article in NY Times February 10, 2023, by Julie Lasky

So for the first installment of a new column called “Living Small” — exploring the choices some people are making to live as simply, sustainably or compactly as possible, for ethical or aesthetic reasons, or both — we visited the association’s annual trade fair, the International Builders’ Show, to see how builders, manufacturers and architects are responding to this struggle.…

And who doesn’t love a little house? Visitors swarmed an outdoor area of the show where several factory-built examples had been erected. The most eye-catching was Casita, a 375-square-foot house that could be hauled to its site by a Tesla and unfolded like a flat-packed box. Manufactured by Boxabl, a Nevada-based company, Casita comes with plumbing, electricity and appliances, and costs $60,000. According to David Thompson, the company’s social media manager, 160,000 names are on the waiting list, and Elon Musk uses one as a guesthouse at his ranch in Boca Chica, Texas.

Next to Casita was a Boxabl sibling created from two vertically stacked modules joined by a spiral staircase. The cost-cutting finishes of the houses lent a disposable feeling, like Ikea furniture on an enormous scale, but it was hard to argue with the price and speed of assembly. (Unfolding a module takes about an hour, Mr. Thompson said.)…

From MauiSurfer

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

3 Responses to Are Tiny Homes a Solution to the Housing Crisis?

  1. I dont think so. The issue with housing is affordability in a geography. So if land/property is out of reach economically who cares about what is built on it. People are putting tiny house ADUs in their backyards but still charging more than people can afford for rent. So no, I dont think tiny homes are the answer

  2. “Cost-cutting finishes” sounds like a blank canvas to me. I’m currently moving into a simulated tiny house so I can let the rest of mine go cold and save fuel. I’ve been much delayed by fussing over artistic details as I do the built-ins. I can see real advantages to getting a weathertight shell up first, and decorating it at leisure as usage patterns suggest improvements.
    If I build one, I’d like to go for a short version of a double-wide trailer, to get a better surface to volume ratio. Two units 6′ X 16′ could slip in many places an RV can’t go, and provide a 12′ X 16′ unit, with the transport walls serving as decks. It could expand from the middle, passing through square to 16′ X 24′ without getting awkward or making low, snow-catching roof sections.

  3. Hi Tina; The title is about “a” solution, not “the” answer. Let’s say that they can be part of the answer, but that zoning and land prices are in their way.

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