These days, thanks to the recession, it’s “trendy” to downsize, when people living in shacks in India are not trendy in the least.
“Tiny Houses” are most famously from Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.
This bed is not for the claustrophobic, window or no… The ladder up to the bed is not for the broken-legged, the heavily-pregnant, or the faint of heart. (Of course, the whole idea isn’t for you if you’re not a minimalist.)
This site has some demographics if you scroll down, but nothing about renters, race, or disability status. It seems to say that tiny houses are for educated rich people (though stories abound of people with more time than money doing it themselves). I guess these guys did it on the cheap, even if it took a long time.
Fat or tall people can’t live in those tiny houses, nor can people with many disabilities (these homes often involve climbing, reaching, and/or bending, limited use of a bathroom such as no tubs and composting toilets, etc.). My partner and I could never physically fit ourselves into most of these places, especially the beds. No, a queen-size mattress squished between 2 walls won’t do it, and we’re not the largest people.
A lot of these places have beds you can’t sit up in, and has anyone ever seen a person of color with one of these? They seem like a certain kind of class marker. (N.B. Maybe I take it back: here is a woman of color who lives in a tiny house with no electricity or running water. #2 notes that in the South ancient tiny houses without electricity or running water are unfortunately not as uncommon as they should be, and the ones without sanitary services are almost entirely lived in by African Americans, but you don’t read about them in articles about tiny houses but instead in articles about racism and lack of city services.) In apartments: more fit, white dudes who could afford to hire architects. These white people paid a bunch of money to not be able to cook or store their clothes at home.
Let’s examine class stereotypes. Custom-built tiny houses are “trendy, hip, environmentally friendly” but trailer parks are “trashy, low-class, full of meth users”. Stuff on Apartment Therapy is tres cool, but cramming people into tiny spaces could also be called a tenement. People who spend huge amounts of money designing a tiny apartment in a major city (if you have that kind of time and expertise) are “the next wave of design” but people who live in one rented room at the YMCA are “losers”. Wagons are appropriated from the Roma, who are still widely stigmatized.
You could spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours engineering a cool, very flexible apartment in the city, but you have to own it ($$) or lose your security deposit to make all that engineering work. (I love how the dude in the video opens a closet and calls it “a bit of a mess” but there is ALMOST NO STUFF in there.) Good luck with the condo association.
Live wherever you want; we’re not judging your personal life choice. The engineering can be pretty cool for those who can afford it, and you can run the numbers on environmental impact. But the trendiness of the movement is highly class-based. As with everything, there’s one rule for the rich/white/able and quite another for the poor/POC/disabled.
Who’s with me, Grumpy Nation? Is there anyone out there who gets around a tiny house in a wheelchair?