What Happened to the Tiny Homes Revolution?

Tiny homes were one of the hot button topics of the previous decade. In 2023? Not so much.

2 minute read

August 14, 2023, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

A tiny home in a residential neighborhood.

Vacation home, homeless shelter, or accessory dwelling unit? | Natalia / Adobe Stock

An article by Eve Andrews for Grist critiques the tiny homes movement—an idea that seems to have come and gone in the public consciousness, not to mention the newsfeeds of planning publications.

What once seemed like a revolution in housing and culture—born from a crisis of housing affordability and the ravages of the Great Recession—now seems like an “Instagram aesthetic,” according to Andrews.

But for all the hubbub, tiny houses never really entered the mainstream realm of homeownership. Instead, they entered the province of tourists seeking a brief decampment to a smaller-scale, climate-friendly lifestyle. You’re more likely to encounter one while scrolling through $300-a-night Airbnb listings than browsing Zillow.

Still, Andrews is unwilling to call the tiny homes movement a failure, rather it’s more of a victim of unrealistic expectations: “[T]he expectations placed upon it were too high: that it could take on all the sins of a bloated, profit-driven housing industry, and deliver us as a nation to a humbler, happier way of living,” writes Andrews.

The source article, linked below, includes a while history of the tiny homes movement, including the highs provided by the debut of a Netflix home improvement show in 2014, Tiny House Nation, to the lows of the Airbnb-ification of the movement.

Andrews also sees some reason for optimism that the ideas that birthed the tiny homes movement still have a chance at wider adoption, including in the resources tiny homes provide people experiencing homelessness and as a popular new typology of housing, the accessory dwelling unit.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023 in Grist

An aerial view of Milwaukee’s Third Ward.

Plan to Potentially Remove Downtown Milwaukee’s Interstate Faces Public Scrutiny

The public is weighing in on a suite of options for repairing, replacing, or removing Interstate 794 in downtown Milwaukee.

August 27, 2023 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Portland Bus Lane

‘Forward Together’ Bus System Redesign Rolling Out in Portland

Portland is redesigning its bus system to respond to the changing patterns of the post-pandemic world—with twin goals of increasing ridership and improving equity.

August 30, 2023 - Mass Transit

Conceptual rendering of Rikers Island redevelopment as renewable energy facility

Can New York City Go Green Without Renewable Rikers?

New York City’s bold proposal to close the jail on Rikers Island and replace it with green infrastructure is in jeopardy. Will this compromise the city’s ambitious climate goals?

August 24, 2023 - Mark McNulty

A rendering of the Utah City master planned, mixed-use development.

700-Acre Master-Planned Community Planned in Utah

A massive development plan is taking shape for lakefront property in Vineyard, Utah—on the site of a former U.S. Steel Geneva Works facility.

7 hours ago - Daily Herald

A line of cars wait at the drive-thru window of a starbucks.

More Cities Ponder the End of Drive-Thrus

Drive-thru fast food restaurants might be a staple of American life, but several U.S. cities are actively considering prohibiting the development of new drive-thrus for the benefit of traffic safety, air quality, and congestion.

August 31 - The Denver Post

Air pollution is visible in the air around high-rise buildings in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Air Pollution World’s Worst Public Health Threat, Report Says

Air pollution is more likely to take years life off the lifespan of the average human than any other external factor, according to a recent report out of the University of Chicago.

August 31 - Phys.org