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Tiny House Festival Australia .. this weekend!!! Thanks, USA

The Tiny House Festival Australia is being held this weekend (March 23-24th 2019) at Bendigo Racecourse in Central Victoria. The event is showcasing vendors and suppliers, work­shops, guest speakers and screenings, plus tiny houses and vans on display. Investigate the lives of those who want a simpler and smaller life.

Five years ago, there was little information about tiny homes in Australia. Now we know that with a third of greenhouse emissions coming from build­ings, living in an eco-friendly tiny home drastically reduces one’s carbon imprint.

 Mobile Tiny Home, Ringwood

History of the American Movement In 1970 artist-architect Allan Wexler pursued the idea of living in a compact space, helping him promote his art. In 1973 authors Loyd Kahn and Bob Easton released the book called Shelter which advanced the idea of living in a compact space more widely. Other authors like Henry David Thoreau and Lester Walker became advocates for the tiny house movement. In 1990s, artist Andrea Zittel used the concept of the tiny home in her work which became another inspirat­ion for the movement. In 1997 author Sarah Susank published the book The Not So Big House which promoted environmental protection.

In 2002 the Small House Society of America was created. And a dec­ade later, Tumbleweed Tiny House Co. was founded by Jay Shafer. Shafer then created a second company called Four Lights Tiny House Co. His first design was only 96 sq feet, and he was soon creating tiny homes on wheels. His colleagues Nigel Valdez and Shay Salomon published their guides of the small house movement in 2006 while Greg Johnson published his memoir in 2008.

In 2013, Austin Texas wanted to help the homeless so they created a Tiny House Solution. From there in 2015, Tiny House Collaborative was promoted and founded to help educate oth­ers on the fine design of tiny homes. In 2016, legislation was passed in Kalamazoo Mich­ig­an that allowed the tiny homes to be altered, to help those who wanted to live a smaller functioning lifestyle.

The average house size for an American family used to be 1,780 sq ft/ 165 sq ms in 1978. This had almost doubled by 2007 when the average family house­hold grew to 2,662 sq feet/247 sq ms for a normal house. But a tiny home averages c400 sq feet/37 sq ms. Compare to Australia. After WW2, 969 sq feet/90 sq ms was an average family house in Austral­ia. Only in recent generations did the floor space creep up until the average new house built in 2016 was 2508 sq feet/233 sq ms.

Open, light filled kitchen living area 
Study/bedroom upstairs

In Australia,  to  make the formal living room less squashy,
family time in summer can be enjoyed on a veranda

So what are the financial, lifestyle, maintenance, environmental and recreational advantages of tiny houses?
A. They can be owned faster than normal mortgages
B. Some tiny homes can be made on wheels for easier travel.
C. They are less expensive to build and easier to maintain.
D. Tiny homes can be more creative with storage.
E. They can be built from eco-friendly, recycled material.
F. They use solar & wind power better than standard homes.
G. Designing a tiny home is simple, and it is easily upgraded.
H. Having a tiny home on a property can create more outdoor space for family and animal fun.

The Cost of a tiny home in the USA can range anywhere up to US $100,000; fac­t­ors that affect the pricing are size, design, mobility, interior design and the materials used to build the tiny home. Overall, building a tiny home is definitely less expensive compared to getting a house mortgage for a fixed rate and a 30-year loan. It is a way to save on overhead and long term expenses. Adding solar and wind power to utilises natural resources, and a manageable septic system is built so the expenses are relatively small.

Who wants Tiny Houses in Australia?
Since the first tiny house groups appeared on Facebook in 2013, such groups and pages have proliferated. The original Facebook pages, such as Tiny Houses Australia, have 58,000 followers, and new groups have emerged since. In cities with expensive housing costs, tiny houses could be part of a solution to the perennial housing problem, as well as improving urban density and environmental sustainability.

Since 2015, most of these tiny houses were mobile and only 20% were intended to be permanently in­stalled in the land. Most of those preferring rural locations wished to build a perm­anent house, while those wanting urban locations preferred mobile houses. As a result of urban land costs?

Demographically, interest in tiny houses was focused on single women over 50; in fact they were the fastest-growing demographic for homelessness in Australia. This was due to widowhood or divorce, employer bias against older women and lack of superannuation savings. And older single women could locate an independent tiny house on property belonging to an adult child.

When buyers wanted to reduce overall debt or to downsize, normal housing was often too expensive. Environmental sustainability and the backlash against the McMansions of previous decades was strong. But what did this mean for urban planning? There were significant bar­riers, particularly a] inflexible planning schemes and b] the cost of land. This might indicate local governments needed to become more open to the idea of tiny houses as an alternative to blocks of flats for increasing density.

Architects, consultants, planning professionals and acad­emics collaborated on the Tiny House Planning Resource for Aust­ralia 2017. It aimed to assist planners, policymakers and the community understand the tiny house movement and its potential to contribute to greater choice in housing supply and diversity. Yes, tiny houses were just one end-of-the-housing-form continuum that didn't suit all demographics. But the increasing interest showed local govern­ments needed to broaden their thinking.

Mezzanine floor bedroom
small, but well fitted

A tiny, but well fitted bathroom and laundry

"The tiny house on its own freehold lot has to be a way to enable ease of financing. "If a local government is serious about affordability, planning regulations need to change to enable freehold titling and increased density without having to go through costly and time-consuming development approval processes."

Researcher Catherine Foster has travelled across Australia to document how 21 architects made functional tiny houses in c90 square metres. Her book, Small House Living Australia 2017 outlined the floor plans that worked.


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