You don't have to be house shopping to know that "tiny" is very now. "Tiny" as in "tiny homes," that is. TV shows, magazines, and the lifestyle sections of newspapers have been promoting the "small is beautiful" philosophy for months now. What's it all about?
A tiny house or apartment is generally described as
less than 400 square feet (37.16 square meters), and, according to Betsy Shiffman in Forbes, "While tiny apartments are hardly a new phenomenon…a new wave of tiny houses and micro apartments is targeted to people who can afford more."
In the past, families in urban areas lived in tiny apartments because they couldn't afford bigger. Today's tiny home buyers go tiny because they want to.
As Shiffman points out, "In Manhattan, a 100-square-foot broom closet on the Upper West side goes for a cool $1,100… and in Tokyo, so-called "coffin" apartments go for anywhere between $500 and $1000 per month for 50 to 75 square feet (4.6 to 6.9 square meters) of space."
In the U.S., according to Collin Binkley of Associated Press, "Backers of tiny living say the movement is growing, and certain areas have become hotspots. Villages of little homes have popped up in cities like Portland and Seattle."
However, a recent article in the Globe & Mail takes on the myth of happy tiny-home owners. "Are tiny homes really sustainable?"
The writer, Erin Anderssen, points to at least one poster family for the tiny housing movement: "They lasted 18 months before they decided it was 'too small' and moved into an apartment."
That said, the movement remains popular across North America, especially with the millennial contingent.
And, interestingly, several urban areas are currently exploring the feasibility of tiny homes in the battle against homelessness.
Are tiny houses just another craze or might they represent a solution to an intractable urban problem? It remains to be seen.