Future Prediction: Living in Micro Homes

February 21, 2014

A micro home is a compact structure that cleverly optimises the available space to create a living environment that is comfortable, practical and affordable. Micro Homes may become a new way of living and an alternative and answer to some of the problems that face us regarding Urbanisation, and a problem economy. The rise in Micro Home living may also occur due to the lifestyle changes of people. These are all points that are adding to this pattern in the ‘micro living’ trend.

‘The tiny house movement has emerged in the last few years as more than a trend. What began as a few individuals following the lead of folks like Jay Shafer of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company is now a new, rich architectural typology.’ (Zieger 2011, p.7)

Observations:

Small is Beautiful

Lidewij Edelkoort, a Trend Forecaster has created the prediction ‘Small is Beautiful’ for Spring/Summer 2014. She has combined the idea that in times of crisis, beauty is found in small ideas and this will develop trends in small dwellings, small collections made by brands and small silhouettes in fashion style.

One thing she points out is that ‘social relationships will be valued more than ever, enjoying real time and real experiences.’ The micro home trend meets this as they are intimate spaces that let people enjoy the important things in life and not be effected by consumerism.

Small Dwellings – Lidewij Edelkoort describes how small spaces are comforting and make us feel protected. Today people are increasingly using their homes in this way as a escapism from the outside world and Edelkoort describes how small architectural archetypes share a carefree spirit.

Urbanisation and Economic Crisis

As the world suffers in the aftermath of the recession as well as a rising population there is a bigger discrepancy between the number of homes that are required and the amount of homes that are available than ever before. Financial security, better job prospects and shorter commuting times are enticing people to move into urban areas, further increasing the demand for affordable housing.

“The world’s urban population has more than quadrupled since 1950, more than half of us live in urban environments for the first time, and the trend is accelerating.” (Calthorpe 2011, p. 3)

Calthorpe forecasts an “urban future”, meaning that, unless addressed quickly the current housing problem will continue to get worse. From this it can be seen that Micro Homes could be an option for this urban crowding and solution to affordable housing if developed in the correct way. People have already taken this idea on board such as the Freedom Room for example and the case studies I have looked into all demonstrate this is a viable and livable solution.

Sustainable Living

Many Micro Homes come under the category of sustainable living. Sustainable living is already a strong trend that is increasing in awareness. People are wanting to live more environmentally and are thinking about the future. Micro Homes have become influenced by this trend and many are created using sustainable materials.

Dwelle is an example of this. Dwelle is a company that produces highly sustainable micro buildings . The whole design is completed using environmentally responsible materials and eco energy systems. No style or design is lost through this and the homes are still livable and stylish spaces. Dwelle stress the importance that small homes do not lack good design and space and they are livable environments that can fit everything one needs.

The idea that compact homes also make less impact on the environment is one that confirms living small is a solution to the environmental problems we face in the future.

The Good Life

Smart Wellbeing has become a key issue as people seek out intelligent health options and recognise that self-improvement boosts quality of life.’ (Kjaer 2013)

Many people today are looking for the good life. To escape the day to day life of the city and take a step back and enjoy living well and increasing their quality of life.

‘Helplessness and being unsure about the future are creating anxiety and panic in a concerned population who feel there is a sense of urgency to make a change in the way they live’ (Talbot 2012,  p.6)

‘Although most of us are living in cities, we are seeking the simple things in life. We seek imperfections of natural materials, highlighting out thirst for simplicity and honesty. Uncomplicated design that embraces privacy, warmth, clean air and an abundant source of natural lighting…’ (Talbot 2012, p.80)

All of these points demonstrate how the current economic and social situations are making people want to live ‘The Good Life’. Many of the Micro Homes are a solution to this way of living and are physiologically impactful and reference the needs of people from the above quotes. Micro homes have also been identified by some sources as a way of helping us to break free of our materialistic nature and shed some of the negative values that capitalism instils in us all.

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