Here at Dirt Craft, one of our core objectives is to help people gain access to healthy, more affordable homes. Reducing the financial burden of shelter can be a vehicle to giving yourself space in your life to work a job that inspires you, or more time to contribute to your community. We work from the firm belief that the house is part of a means to an end, not an end in itself. Since World War ll, the average size of homes in North America have been ever increasing. This probably does not come as a surprise. To put some figures to it, the average Canadian now lives in 1000 sq ft per person compared to post WWll where the average was 300 sq ft per person. Home size contributes to many factors, including waste during construction, higher operational energy use, habitat loss, increased greenhouse gas emissions, etc.
We like to suggest to our clients to build a glove, not a warehouse. This leaves you more time and funds to focus on details, rather than spreading all of your efforts over a large space, resulting in a higher quality product. Once the construction phase of building is over, and you get to move in day, the more space you have, the more stuff you’re going to acquire to fill it. Murphy’s law, right? While we do consult with folks looking to build a so called ‘tiny’ home (something between 80 and 300 sq ft), we also work with a lot of owner-builders that are interested in creating a home that fits their life, something that they don’t have to cram into, nor one that is too big.
So, with this perspective, we were quite delighted to discover the organization Small Housing BC. A registered society, whose mandate is to:
a) support the development and promotion of small housing as a sustainable housing form;
b) contribute to research, knowledge transfer, education and the achievement of excellence associated with small forms of housing and related advanced urbanism; and,
c) act as a public voice for the small housing industry, consumers and citizens who wish to see the benefits of advanced urbanism with the development of small forms of housing.
This spring they released a report, detailing ten examples of small scale living, including small lot homes, laneway houses, cottage housing, co-housing and more from across North America. The report shares a lot of in depth information about the ten examples including, the challenges faced with each project, the success, the shortcomings, as well as the different legal and ownership models for each. If you’re seeking realistic solutions to your own shelter challenges, it’s worth having a closer look at.
Read the full Small House: Innovations in Small-Scale Living from North America report.