2015-04-16 – I’ve been seeing a lot lately about tiny housing. It’s mostly promoted as efficient and good for the ecology (see Small House Society or Tumbleweed Tiny House Company for examples). The other day I saw that IKEA now has solar-power shelters for refuges.
I thought this was a kind of trend for upwardly mobile zen wannabes who want to minimize their carbon footprint . . . in the coolest way possible.
But they are now pitching these things for refugees. What’s next? Non-refuge homeless? The idle poor who won’t get a job?
Who else did you think was going to live in a tiny house? For a one-percenter, a tiny house is something has no more than 35,000 square feet, a four-car garage, only one swimming pool (four lanes Olympic size), and a single tennis court.
If you are talking 400 square feet, well that’s just a bathroom.
For the 99 percent, that’s a large house. We’re supposed to be excited over these exquisite doll houses that store everything under the bed and feature a kitchen sink that converts into a bathtub and converts again into a toilet.
These things cost in the tens of thousands of dollars and come with wheels, since you can’t afford a plot of land to put them on. For an extra fee, they come with a tornado. I suppose, this is cheaper than hundreds of thousands for a house. But if you’re looking for cheap housing for refugees—or for the poor—there’s plenty of unoccupied housing around.
But it’s not the lack of modest housing that’s the problem. It’s the lack of a neighborhood that will accept modest people. Even the worst neighborhood balks at admitting folk that don’t measure up—whatever the standard happens to be.
Because the fact is: we’ve had tiny houses all along. They are called cardboard boxes.
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Shame on me! I shouldn’t be so cynical. You can’t afford airfare to another city? Just climb take your tiny house down to FedEx and climb in. Never thought you could go on an ocean cruise? Well there are container ships.
Why should everything go to the one percent?
And . . . ooh, ooh, ooh . . . maybe you can ship someone else’s tiny house to a distant port . . . while they’re asleep in it!
(On the other hand, what will this do to predatory mortgage lending?)