Small Houses Find Big Following in Cascadia
Motivated by a range of factors - from affordability to sustainability to connectivity - a diverse cross-section of residents are moving into "doll houses" that range from 800 square feet to less than 100 square feet — "a far cry from the 1000 square feet per person that has become the North American norm."
Denizens of the Pacific Nothwest have a particular affinity for the increasingly popular housing type. According to Nelson, "Seattle and Vancouver both adopted rules for backyard cottages in 2009. Portland has allowed accessory dwellings since 1998; but when the city relaxed size restrictions and waived development charges in 2010, it unleashed a renaissance in small home building."
Aside from the benefits to homeowners, such developments are a boon to their wider neighborhoods by "allowing schools to stay open, giving neighborhood businesses more customers, making transit service cost-effective, and saving on infrastructure costs." Plus, adds Nelson, "[i]nfilling neighborhoods with backyard cottages helps add more people to a neighborhood, without altering its character."
"The recession and housing crisis, combined with changing demographics, have led many of us to reevaluate what we want in a home," explains Nelson. "More and more folks are looking for homes within walking distance of jobs, stores, and transit—and have proven willing to trade square footage for a vibrant neighborhood. At the same time, millennials increasingly look for alternatives to the car; baby boomers have reached the age where they don’t need a big home in the ‘burbs; and more and more families are choosing to live in multi-generational households."
"Tiny houses are a great solution for all these needs."