After four homeless people in San Jose died from exposure last winter, officials in that city are floating the idea of offering tiny but livable homes to the area's indigent. The "micro houses" - or to be more science fiction-y, "housing pods" - would likely be purchased from a local dealer for just a few thousand bucks each. While nothing fancy, the economical living arrangement would likely be perceived as an improvement over sleeping in a tent somewhere in the urban wild.
"Right now to afford an apartment in San Jose, you have to make more than $30 an hour," explained homeless advocate Jenny Niklaus . "It's stunning the gap between what people can afford and what is real."
A city council member added, "It's far better to be living in a small home that you can call your own than to be living in a creek in unsafe conditions and unsanitary conditions."
The dwellings can be built for about $5,000. They are typically under 150 square feet, with no running water. Bathrooms and kitchens would be communal.
Micro Living: Not Just for the Down and Out
The zest for tiny living has been rearing its itty bitty head all over the place lately. Design students in Georgia recently dreamed up a solution for crowded urban living that involved homes the size of a parking garage space. In fact that's where they're meant to be placed, and at about 40% less per month than a typical Atlanta apartment. The "prototypes for urban housing" were given the name SCADpads, named after the Savannah College of Art and Design where the plans for the diminutive homes were first hatched.
"It's a new kind of living arrangement for the next-generation dwellers in the city," said one student designer.
Below: "SCADpad" living, in all its minimal glory.
I wrote in in 2012 about San Francisco's idea for "micro apartments" of about 220 sq. ft. each. The controversy surrounding the plan had nothing to do with the apartments being too cramped or claustrophobia-inducing, but rather that they'd only be appealing to the hip, young, moneyed and childless, in a city already indirectly hostile to folks with kids. (Micro apartments: the next "smart cars"?)Via CBS, Yahoo!, and the Huffington Post.