THESIS: Tactics to Tiny: Finding Your Way Home
Tactics to Tiny
Finding Your Way Home
To minimize our personal living space goes against our North American culture and values, one that has been built upon our abundance of space and excess of material goods. In our “bigger is better” culture, homes have continued to grow larger in the past decades despite shrinking household sizes. But we have passed a tipping point. As a society, we are paying well above our means for shelter and as a result, we have little left to care for our wellbeing, or allow our homes to reflect our minds. We are living in an age of such unaffordable housing, that moving back in with our parents has become the most common living arrangement among young adults. 1 With the rise of single-person households and increasing personal mobility, traditional home-ownership no longer meets the needs of a shifting demographic, especially when the trade-off is being tied down to long term mortgages, in addition to our exorbitant student and credit debts.
Mobile tiny homes are a solution that meet the needs of this new demographic. This solution —or tiny solutions— have been created from the bottom up as many self-builders have risen up to meet their own needs for a home. As individuals, we are all faced with our own unique set of choices, constraints, preferences and abilities. Rather than join the long waiting line for a solution from the top-down (which is usually in the form of government subsidized housing in low supply), aspiring home-owners can use their nuanced circumstances as tactics to fill the gaps left by a fragmented market. Tiny homes operate in a profit margin that is too low for speculative builders. It is a disruption to a system that normally tends to favour large developers and corporations.
This is a study of tiny homes and how they fit within the practical and theoretical framework of our regulatory housing system. It starts with a (much) smaller home but has social, political, financial and legal implications far greater than its physical size. Concluding with a guidebook of tactics in a choose-your- own-adventure format, readers navigate the current system and experience the choices and challenges it takes to obtain a tiny home. It offers conscious readers the opportunity to critique their own presumptions on traditional home-ownership. The format is congruent with the belief that there is more than one way to reach a destination and there is more than one destination when it comes to choosing our homes. We should nurture the small, agile, and convivial efforts of autonomous individuals making a home for themselves. The dweller gains back control of the home, allowing it to become one’s specific adaptation of the world.
Val Rynnimeri, University of Waterloo
Andrew Levitt, University of Waterloo
Donald McKay, University of Waterloo
The Defence Examination will take place
Monday January 16, 2017 6:00 PM Main Lecture Theatre (ARC 1001)