Monday, March 23, 2015

Small is beautiful! Still and again.

After decades of meeting shrinking household sizes with larger and larger homes that culminated eventually in McMansions on five acre lots, the pendulum is finally swinging back. Micro apartments, small houses and tiny lots gather steam in hot markets where rents are high and land is scarce such as Manhattan or San Francisco.

The small house is not new, of course. In some trending California neighborhoods houses were tiny to begin with, and now fetch top dollars for sitting in cozy, walkable and booming neighborhoods such as Hillcrest or Southpark in San Diego. Sometimes the micro house has an accessory unit in the back of the narrow lot, good for in-laws, renters or AirBnB to pay the skyrocketing taxes. This one way how many old hippies make gentrification affordable while maintaining the proverbial small footprint and being in sync with the burgeoning share economy which looks quite familiar to them anyway. 

Thus old trends and new trends meet, mingle and help turn what had been an utterly failed and unsustainable pattern. 

Klaus Philipsen, FAIA

All below pictures were taken by author in the San Diego neighborhood of South Park within a few blocks of each other.

updated for additional photos 3/26/15

The historic small house in South Park, CA

Cozy back yard complete with sustainable active transportation devices

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