Tiny House Community Survey

The Tiny House Community survey and blog are designed to gather the thoughts of tiny house fans on creating a community of tiny houses.

The ideal is to create a village where size is not an issue but quality of life is. Beautifully crafted tiny houses of less than 400 square feet will form the core of the community but space will be provided for larger homes and temporary shelters as well. A community center will provide services such as laundry, showers, toilets, a shared kitchen, and individual storage units.

The vision is long-term. It’s likely to require a year or more of planning, another year or two of working through permitting issues, at least six months of fund raising, and years to build up the infrastructure and build the tiny houses, before it’s a true community.

In ten years when it’s done, some of us will be old. But if we’re lucky, we’re going to get old anyway, and how much more wonderful to be old folks who created a tiny house community! If you’d like to have a say in where it’s located and what it contains, please complete the survey by clicking here.

Photo Credit Jay Shafer

39 Comments Tiny House Community Survey

  1. Mike Moore

    Kent, as a member of an intentional community (and also a small house owner), I applaud your efforts and wish you success. This is a tremendous project. It will take considerable fortitude, at times be extremely frustrating, and yet is ultimately worth all the time, tears, courage, and love you put into it. Good luck!

    Mike Moore

    Reply
    1. Kent Griswold

      Hi Mike, actually someone else runs this site and I am helping get the word out about the survey. -Kent

      Reply
  2. Marcia Wilwerding

    This concept sounds so familiar. It is exactly the situation we share one week out of the year at family camp at the lovely Camp Nicolet near Eagle River, WI. I have often dreamed of how the situation you describe would be perfect for extended families who wish to share a large parcel of land, yet have private quarters for each individual household. It’s nice to know there are others who dream this way.

    Reply
    1. Ellen T.

      Marcia, how interesting that you bring up the idea of what our family refers to as the “Family Compound” for lack of a better term. When I started following the Tiny House Blog my husband and I came up with an idea much the same as yours. Each member of the family would have a very small house a distance from each other and then have one communal building where we could cook and enjoy Sunday/holiday/family dinners, a big TV and chairs for family movies or games and such. Outside would be a large shared garden and maybe a pool or whatever. Nobody would have to maintain their own, it would be a shared effort, but each would have their own private space.

      Reply
      1. Liesl Schick

        This is so funny ladies! My sister and I have been talking about the same concept for 15 years now. We too refer to it as the “family compound”.

        Reply
  3. Barb

    I also think this would be GREAT for extended families. It sounds like Utopia to me. I didn’t complete the survey, because it would not sound like Utopia to my significant other.

    I’m not sure why the community center would need showers and toilets? Don’t most small house designs incorporate bathroom facilities? (I’m thinking of tumbleweed houses in particular). Laundry would be nice. A big fire place and big screen tv would be nice. Ping pong table, game tables, lending library (I”m going with the “resort lodge” model here).

    Reply
  4. Chelsea

    Sounds a lot like cohousing (http://www.cohousing.org/). I’ve wanted to build/create a tiny home cohousing community for years where some were maybe permanent structures and some came and went as life changes (trailer built home). I live in cohousing now and while the homes are substantially smaller then the US average in my community they are still bigger than I feel is really needed/priced too high.

    Reply
  5. Dan Peters

    I love the idea, and have been planning a small community for a while now. if anyone would like to come on air and discuss it i am on air Sat afternoons at 3 est http://www.blogtalkradio.com/freedomizerradio/2011/10/08/jumpin-ship-wcptn-dan-survivalist-cooking-w-doctor-prepper
    I hope some of you can join us, right now im working on building a small pithouse and encampment for about 30 ppl.
    Peace, and remember, your knowledge of skills are only worth it if you practice them, and know how to use them.
    Cptn Dan

    Reply
  6. Lynda Bidstrup

    I think this is a great idea ! I already have a tiny house, 355 sq ft, in Tahoe ~ But I am considering going smaller , my place is feeling kinda big for one little old lady,LOL ….I like your idea very much !!

    Reply
  7. Allen Gagle

    I think if you had some basic (not oppressive) but basic rules and standards it could work nicely, without some standardization you would end up with a shanty town, and NM or FL would be lovely for such a place. Good luck guys!

    Reply
    1. Christine Ferguson

      Familiar with all types of housing from motorhomes to spacious homes but love the tiny living space(and these logs)

      Living near others? Both from intuition and experience I believe the art is in the selection of compatible people with compatible values and conducts! Like a good marriage I suppose. Incompatibility will bring to ruin the best laid practical and aesthetic plans.

      I’d start with a self-filling questionnaire about what your style really is. e.g. sporty /outdoor types; pubs ,food’n’ fags, ; teashops/coffees shop/ arty crafty/ readers/loafers/ classical/ etc.
      If you can get this clear and be true to one main style you will attract ‘like ‘types which I contend is a beneficial start to any living -in -close -proximity project . How many of us ever classify ourselves stylewise..and remember to update?!

      Personally ah’ m thinkin’ Garfield here.
      Warm bed, warm fire, warm water/shower. Sleep.Mmmm

      Reply
    2. Janice DeLisle

      We live in the pink & blue (purple in pic) cottage – a historically registered area (built in 1867 – see my post further down). The rules for maintenance & upkeep are strict. Works!

      Reply
  8. Brightlighter

    I like the idea – and small homes are a wonderful thing – but to me the bonus of the small home is the outdoor living experience. Flocked together as you have it pictured would mean living on top of each other… not my cup of tea – I want a garden and some chickens and maybe even a Moo. With that said I would choose to live on the outskirts of a a town, have a regular sized lot with a tiny house on it to allow for lots of garden space :)

    In an Urban area this would be wonderful – for people that are either trying to scale back for affordability or to start out in our outrageously priced housing markets… A condo here in my town starts at $200,000. for a dump and then add the condo fees ($350.00/month) plus your mortgage and you are way out of most people’s budgets – not to mention the 10% down to start.

    Tiny houses would be and are a good thing :)

    Reply
    1. ginmar

      I think the goal here is to just do an RV park. These houses would each have their own yards, offer privacy, and there would be communal spaces too.

      Reply
  9. Carlos

    What is described is an RV Park, with specific standards. High density (18-24 units/acre). Pool, showers, laundry, kitchen in the center. The good news is it doesn’t take years to plan & build, thousands have been built all across the country.

    Reply
  10. kelly murphy

    I have been mentally formulating this idea, for awhile, now, especially as it relates to sharing land w/ a few good friends interested in small living. I also like the idea of helping women/and single moms in financial distress while going through relocation and/or divorce-who have no family, or whose resources have been depleted due to relocation, unemployment and attorney fees.
    It wouuld take multiple hours of planning-but is a beautiful idea! This would be another fantastic idea–a small movment camp, so interested people could try out a particular square footage for a time 2 see if the concept is feasible for them. Now there is a lucrative and helpful idea!…..

    Reply
    1. clare

      I have also had this idea of helping single moms live in community….preferably with retirees who are interested in being the “village” needed to raise happy healthy children

      Reply
  11. Diane

    I’m loving the tiny homes, but the cost rather boggles my mind. I can’t see paying that much for such a small space when with the market the way it is I can get at least twice that for the same price. If I had my druthers, I would choose to live in a smaller space because of the charm most of them carry. I suppose that’s what I’d be paying for.

    I love my privacy so I can’t see myself living in a community like that. The concept of looking out my side window right into the next home doesn’t appeal to me.

    Diane

    Reply
    1. chris h

      I know some of you are turned off by the price. The truth is you can build a great looking little home for around 5000.00. Mine will be finished in the spring and i’m right on budget for around 5000. I’m building as i get the money so that’s why its taking so long.

      Reply
  12. Jen

    I love the idea of tiny house communities. Ross Chapin has developed “pocket” neighborhoods that are quite lovely, but also extremely expensive. If someone wants to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a home, they probably aren’t going to buy a tiny house. I dream of an affordable tiny house community that is pet friendly and isn’t limited to senior citizens.

    Reply
    1. Ellen T.

      Jen you’re right on the money. I read Ross Chapin’s book Pocket Neighborhoods earlier this year and devoured it. I think it’s key to have quality homes, rather than an RV Park as was mentioned earlier, and plenty of space for each home so that folks don’t loose their privacy. With the right planning (as Ross Chapin describes) this can easily be accomplished, and has all around the world. In my opinion, a community should be set up on the footprint of of something no longer used rather than taking new land. Often infrastructure is in existence that can cut some of the overall costs.

      Reply
  13. Lisa

    I believe the picture above is a “pocket housing” development in Puget Sound, Washington. I think I saw this many years ago on HGTV. I fell in love with this instantly but the prices (for the footage) were flooring.

    Reading all of the comments, I think many different communities are what’s being called for.

    Some folks want land, skies and animals. Others want shared meals, cooking, laundry that have children. Some of us want secure retirement places for singles that are safe, affordable, stable with no barking dogs or children at play.

    Most of us seem to want our own bathroom with small kitchenettes. I’d want to have all my own services (laundry, lights, shower, bath, water, sewer) but save with maybe a central solar plant that serves the whole community with a community garden and barter co-op and built with recycled materials for a retiree’s modest income.

    Maybe the thing to do is to organize those people of similar interests into membership groups, do a cost analysis and go from there by splitting the costs equally for the land and shared buildings/services and have the membership pay into their group fund until they have the amount to buy the land and build to that groups specifications. If things got too expensive then the builder might offer that group building alternatives. This would create an extended family and solidarity of investment to keep that village strong and viable.

    Also, if someone changed their mind about some feature of their village, they could go back into the system and trade or sell their tiny house and join another village community. Say someone thought they wanted golf, a swimming pool and four seasons. Then they changed their mind and wanted shared gardening, a community solar plant and warm weather all year round. They could make that adjustment with an intra-community move. They might sell their tiny house in one community, and join another community; build a new house in the new community with the proceeds of the sale of their first tiny house.

    This whole idea has lots of good possibilities, like a writer’s or artist’s community or gated senior’s community. Very exciting to think about.
    I certainly hope some of this comes about but it will have to be affordable inside today’s depressed economy…

    I’m still not sure why the housing in this photo ended up being so prohibitively expensive. My father owned a house of 4800 sq ft on 30 acres in an upscale part of the mid-Hudson area of NY state that cost way less than the pricey prices of these “gingerbred” row houses. It just meant that many of us were barred from ever having such a place.

    Reply
  14. Lisa

    Another idea is hobbit house villages. I’ve often thought about these, too. Particularly poured concrete and rebar construction which allows for all sorts of intereating interior articulation.

    There is a German architect who built himself an eco-berme house for very reasonable money in Germany that was fabulous.

    But, here again, once an idea becomes popular the prices become prohibitive. When the idea of hobbit housing first arrived the average cost of construction was $7,500. Then an architectural firm (that shall remain unnamed) got into the picture and the prices roared up into the hundreds of thousands because of nothing more than…dare I say it? …middlemen “doing business” and greed. This firm ruined it for everyone driving the cost of berme housing through the roof. To this day I’m still put out by them and this.

    Reply
  15. Charlie

    I agree with a portion of what just about everybody said. First of all, my dog and I won’t fit in a Tiny house and the sq. footage cost of some of these tiny houses alarm me due to my cheap nature. On the other hand, a small house might fit the bill with say 5 acres where I could have small live stock and if it went moo it would be from a small cow. The sq. footage costs would have to be reduced considerably but many of the examples on this blog are. Is it just me, but are the houses in the picture above really tiny? They definitely look small but not Tiny be the definition of Jay. I’m too old to sleep in a loft. It’s OK for the grandkids, but the dog and I need to be on the ground floor and he weights 200 pounds and is an inside dog unless I go out. Also, I want porches and not on the gable end where they are small but on the long side of the house, front and back or all around to help offset the smallness of the house. Room to roam. Coffee on the front porch to greet the sun and bourbon on the back porch to wish it good night.

    Reply
  16. elizabeth

    What you have described was owned by the Church of the Nazarene for 100 years and destoryed by developers and arsons in 2 years in North East, MD 21901.

    Reply
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  19. Denise in Tennessee

    I wonder how a shared kitchen would work. As someone who does not eat fast food, I use the kitchen a LOT. And sometimes preparing a meal takes a considerable amount of time, especially if you’re cooking from scratch and feeding a family. What happens if there are several persons such as myself, it’s hard to see how a shared kitchen would work.

    It’s like we’d have to take turns. But by the time one of us can get use of the kitchen for lunch, then it’s dinner time. Of would we be sharing meals and just have an assigned team to prepare the meal(s) for everybody? (I’m vegan). I’m not wanting to sound negative, but am more curious than anything.

    Another thought: using an oven simultaneously could be a challenge. Some things need 350 degrees, but some need 400 or 450 (raw foodists want less than 120; but that may be another subject). So several dishes may not be able to cook simultaneously, for several households

    Reply
  20. Janice DeLisle

    The row of cottages in the photograph above are located in Oak Bluffs, MA in the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association. All four were built in 1867 and are historically registered. The pink and (purple) blue cottage is mine.
    The cottage is approx. 900 sf – shot gun style goes back, so the front view is misleading. Small, but not alarmingly so. It has two bedrooms and a sitting area upstairs; downstairs: two living areas, a dining room, kitchen and full bath…plus a back deck with outdoor shower. Spending summers here is a dream – walk to stores, restaurants, beach and harbor. We bring our cat and (active) dog with us every summer. Martha’s Vineyard has amazing dog parks! I LOVE the limited space to clean and we still have separate areas to work or relax so not under foot of each other. We have twin daughters
    All 313 cottages in this enclave were built between 1865 and 1880 and are individually owned and are usually passed down through the family. Occasionally, they come on the market, $300K – 750K range. This is a unique area and perfect for those who love history, Victorian architecture and strong community.

    Reply

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