Tiny Houses

1 August 2014

TH Villages

In previous posts, we’ve talked a lot about the attractiveness of building a tiny house for reasons such as financial independence, mindful living and environmental sustainability. The next evolution in the tiny house movement is to take these advantages and scale them up to a broader cross section of people by creating villages of tiny houses. Here are five reasons why tiny house communities are awesome:

1. Location, location, location.

By 2050, over 70 percent of the global population will live in cities. High demand for urban land will drive rents and mortgages for more conventional dwellings steadily upward. In the case of a tiny house village, the high cost of property can be defrayed when spread over many landholders.

2. Sense of community

As Lee Pera, cofounder of Boneyard Studios (below), points out, “It’s about moving more of your life to the community and the outdoors rather than designing your home to meet every need you have: Using the local coffee shop, the gym, spending time in parks and other public spaces.”


3. Sharing is Caring

Eventually, you’re going to be doing some project where you’ll need something you don’t own (or don’t own anymore). Living in a community amongst other tiny housers who understand this dilemma will make it much easier on you to go from tiny door to tiny door to see if one of your neighbors is willing to lend you whatever you need.

4. Urban Infill

We’ve discussed in this blog before how tiny houses are a great urban infill tool for cities. Of course we believe Minim is going to be a smashingly successful example of this right here in Garfield, but imagine what tiny house villages across all sorts of cities will do. It will bring back the density that keep streets safe and make neighborhoods desirable places to move to.


5. A Leg Up

Some cities are beginning to build tiny house villages in order to address the needs of their homeless population. Quixote Village (above), which just opened in December 2013 in Olympia, Washington is the best example of the tangible and positive impact tiny house communities can have. In Quixote’s case, it cost half as much to build tiny houses for the homeless than to build studio apartments. A similar concept is underway in Austin, Texas with plans calling for a community garden in the center of the houses. What’s more communal than growing and eating food together?

There are tiny house villages popping up all over the place. Jay Shafer, founder of both Tumbleweed Tiny House Co. and Four Lights Tiny House Co. has plans to open a yet-to-be-named village (pictured at the top of this post) in Sonoma County, in northern California. There is Quixote Village in Olympia, mentioned a above, and the forthcoming project in Austin from the nonprofit Mobile Loaves and Fishes. Craven Road in Toronto boasts a grouping of houses, none over 500 square-feet, mixed in with larger, conventional houses. Of course, there’s Boneyard Studios, (who we seem to mention in every post) with their cluster of houses on a wedge-shaped plot in northeast D.C.

Is there space for a tiny house village in Pittsburgh?


  1. Ron Martin said on

    I’m fascinated with the pocket-neighborhood idea…although I think small townhouses with shared walls might make even more sense if you’re aiming for affordability and efficient heating/cooling. As a recent transplant to Pgh. I have noticed with interest a number of older “terrace” neighborhoods…..Shady-Forbes Terrace, and the hidden gem at 5552 Beacon are in Squirrel Hill. A more upscale version; Dover Gables is just south of the busway on Negley…and another modest one across from Giant Eagle Mkt. Dist. on Centre Ave.

  2. admin said on

    These are all terrific pocket neighborhoods. I agree that townhouses could provide more energy efficiency. Next project?

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