Sunday, January 3, 2021

Are Tiny Houses About to Disrupt Inner City Housing?

Every city in the US has housing problems. Either they don’t have enough affordable housing or they have tons of empty housing units that have been left to decay beyond repair. 

Put cities like Denver in the first group and cities like Baltimore in the second. City governments across the country have been trying to pass legislation to change what can be built and where it can be built. A couple of cities have already proposed eliminating R1 neighborhoods, thus allowing multifamily, ADUs, tiny houses and even homeless shelters to be built in R1 areas. NIMBY (not in my back yard) protests and lawsuits have already begun in Minneapolis.

After tiny homes gained popularity on home design shows, some cities began eyeing them as a way they might provide shelter for homeless people. Los Angeles and San Francisco are already starting to set up whole villages of “tiny houses” in the form of converted garden sheds like the ones sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Look for new zoning codes to be added in many cities called "intentional community clusters", (ICC) that will allow people to live in clusters of tiny houses with shared common areas.

"Indoor villages," where tiny houses are placed inside vacant warehouses is another proposal being forwarded in many cities. The entire warehouse could be upgraded with central heating and cooling allowing the tiny house community to live in garden sheds without the need for individual heating and cooling. Centralized kitchens, sanitary facilities, small classrooms and group rooms could be added for skills training and rehab.

Putting the homeless in these “out of site” warehouses apparently seems like a good idea. Almost like a “City in a Box”. 

The answer to truly fixing the affordable housing problems in inner cities is out there but because of bureaucratic red tape and lack of funding, “intentional community clusters” and “Indoor villages” filled with garden sheds and tiny houses may soon be filling empty lots and warehouses in a city near you.

Gary Fleisher, the Modcoach, writes Modcoach News and Modular Home Coach blogs as well as the best site for off-site consultants, Modcoach Connects

Contact Gary at

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