Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Shrinking Cities and Tiny Houses

While Congress considers legislation that would help shrinking cities like Flint get rid of dilapidated, unwanted housing, designers are working on houses that are only nine square feet.

"The design includes all the main elements that make up a house," writes Michael Janzen at Tiny House Design. "Only the shell is represented in this 3D drawing but the final house would have a toilet, sink, 12VDC cooler, propane heater, bed, chair, fold-down table, and storage. I came up with the size by asking myself how what the absolute minimum amount of space would be needed for someone to live. I did a quick calculation in my head of the amount of space I took up while laying down and came up with nine square feet."


  1. I think they already have these in Japan.

    So. The Japanese win again.

  2. Aren't jail cells bigger than that?

  3. At first I thought you tipped the house over to sleep, but there's a sleeping loft that extends into the porch overhang.

    I guess I can officially stop complaining about my 700 sq ft house in San Francisco now.

    And I'm sure jail cells are bigger. As are college dorm rooms, which, when you think about it, are very similar to jail housing.

  4. were these s'pposed to be for the Homeless? where do they park their obligatory 2 shopping carts? ya know though, these are a lot more realistic than these damn McMansions all over my beach! 8,000,000sq ft for 2 people, 3 MAYBE 3 months outta the year...something like this would have served me very well, when I was bachin' it. and jailcells might be bigger, but(no pun)you don't have a roomie whose doing 4 life sentences for eating his former landlord.

  5. and God knows it'd sure cut down exposure time when enterprising young crackheads bust in to steal all the wiring, plumbing and siding!

  6. IKEA could squeeze in a den and a sitting room too

  7. I've actually lived in a few single rooms in my lifetime (don't plan on doing so now; as I'm a bit older), and I can tell you about the minimum liveable space would be about 10X8.

    A bed at one end, hopefully opposite from the door.
    Desk and storage space fitting in wherever you can fit it.
    Closet area near the door (hopefully).
    Restroom will have to be shared in this format. If restroom is included, 12 X 8 with toilet and shower opposite bed (or you'll have to squeeze in everything REALLY tight.

    That's the absolute minimum; I've always moved up when I had the chance to.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at www.teardownbook.com.