Tuesday, June 30, 2015

On Tiny Houses & micro-apartments

A BoingBoing post on micro-apartments a few months back inspired me to look at the hot & cold side of this trend:
These micro-apartments definitely appeal to the Tiny House lover in me. I think we don’t see how much of a trap a large living space can be until we downscale dramatically, at which point, the liberating freedom from “things” can suddenly become quite apparent. I once took a tour of a lovely small Frank Lloyd Wright house in Virginia and I was delighted to learn that the late owner felt the smallness of the house forced her to make choices about what was important in her life – and thus made her a better person.
On the other hand.
These tiny spaces facilitate the ongoing rigging of our world, the systemic theft of real wealth and value from almost everyone except the miniscule percentage at the top. Offer us a tiny place to live and we’re less likely to protest all that’s been taken from us (and we also become less expensive to the system than a homeless person). There is no such thing as a free market. The poor and desperate will always prefer a cubicle to a park bench, but once we decide the mega-wealthy can set the terms for the living conditions of their tenants, all bets are off.
One can foresee a future when all of us will be grateful for a space in a dormitory bunkbed for a mere $300 a month. Beautifully-designed tiny houses are a delicious idea, but they remain a wet dream for downscaling affluents. For poor people around the world, tiny, filthy, shitty spaces are all they ever get.

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