Why a Tiny House Means a Massive Life

When we speak to the owners of tiny homes, we like to ask about their lifestyle, and how a smaller living space impacts on them, day-to-day.
It’s logical to think that a small home would mean limited possibilities – but the opposite is true.
You see, a tiny home makes your own space functional, and the rest of the world accessible.
It removes the complacency barrier between you, and the outside world, and forces you to think about how you interact with the wider world.
Tiny home owners, live extraordinarily large lives, seeing more, doing more and experiencing more – because their homes stops becoming a comfort zone, and instead serves the purpose it was intended for when our ancestors built the first shelter.
Do you remember camping when you were younger? Do you remember sitting outside, because your tent was for sleeping – not for socialising?
Do you remember waking up when the sun came up, and, without snoozing an alarm, bursting outside, ready to face the day and have adventures?
Big World Homes, is living without the training wheels.
We are creating small homes, within inspired communities, for big lives that want more than evenings spent watching TV, and wasted days on the couch.

Comments 2

  1. Jenny Stark

    I have been following the Tiny Home movement with interest, but there is always the problem of where to put them. I am impressed with your idea of the communities. It would be great to use unused land and have interesting energetic people inspiring and supporting one another. This is very important and overcomes the lack of being connected to like minded people that many feel. Congratulations on this initiative. Would love to hear of a community starting in Adelaide or near by. J

  2. Tony Foley

    Dear Interested Person

    I am writing to ask you to help me build grass roots support for a new land use provision in Australia which I call Mobile Accommodation Provision (MAP)

    MAP is the provision, within all land uses, for the location and occupation of mobile accommodation units, on the condition that creating this provision on a specific parcel or parcels of land, a) achieves a set of public and private objectives which are reviewed annually; and b) any adverse impacts on surrounding private and public land uses are carefully monitored, and if found to be outside a tolerable range, the provision will be discontinued for one or all users, on one or more parcels of land.

    I believe MAP is crucial to the suite of economic, social and infrastructure changes that Australia needs if we are to remain, or become, a prosperous, competitive, thoughtful and happy nation in the years ahead.

    I envisage MAP is potentially applicable on individual suburban lots, as a temporary use on larger parcels of land designated for future residential use, on suitable industrial and commercial lands awaiting further or future redevelopment, and on land currently designated for open space or recreational purposes, and which would be better utilized as providing temporary accommodation for a defined period of time.

    MAP may take many forms. From “granny” units in back yards, to mining style “donga villages” on broad acre sites in proximity of public transport; and even high rise configurations similar to those seen on the perimeters of construction sites used to house design offices, lunch rooms, toilets, etc.

    An interesting example of MAP are “RV Friendly Towns” – towns which advertise with standardised signage that they have designated a parcel of land close to shops and amenities which caravaners are welcome to stay at and use for short or indefinite period to time, with a view to revitalising the town’s economy or to share with the rest of the world the attributes which their region offers.

    The style of a particular MAP site should be in line with communities aspirations to pursue the public and the private good, and this is best understood and governed at the local level. I particular interest of mine is what I call a Private/Public MAP. These would be initiatives by government, and/or in conjunction with the not for profit sector, to develop MAP sites available to rent to members of a specific consumer group, at a site rent which was attractive enough to encourage some of those consumers to relocate into their own mobile accommodation and live there themselves knowing that their housing tenure would be secure for ideally say 5 years, and the amenity which is proposed is ensured by a high level of monitoring and compliance. Such an initiative could provide motivated self reliant people wanting to get into the housing market, a chance to get out of the private rental market, live in their own inexpensive mobile accommodation, pay a very affordable site fee which helps cover the MAP Site Establishment Costs, and slowly accumulate the money they would have been spending on rent, so it is available as a future deposit on a unit or house where they want to live.

    When this type of housing solution is left to solely to the private sector to deliver (eg: conventional caravan parks or mobile home villages), inevitably site fees are set at uppermost limit of people’s ability to pay, which includes each person’s eligibility and reliance on Rent Assistance from Centrelink.

    To decide whether you as a voter or as a concerned citizen should support MAP, you will need to look closely at the private and public benefits MAP can achieve, as well as how effectively other land uses achieve these goals, as well as understand the potential impacts on the surrounding amenity and neighboring property values, and how effectively benefits can be maximized, and impacts mitigated.

    Pondering these hows and whys is serious work, and a real sense of urgency might be necessary before Australians give MAP a closer look. So two options exist: don’t explore the pros and cons of MAPs until the housing affordability crises gets even worse, if that is possible. Or act now, by beginning the conversation with stakeholders such as those who control access to suitable sites, and those who manage the funds allocated by governments and charities to alleviate the very high cost housing. There are lots of people who would benefit enormously if MAPs became a reality.

    I can see MAP helping resolve myriad of urban issues, in a way which no other land use or capital injection could achieve, especially so in today’s economic climate. Not least of all:

    the cost of housing, the difficulty of saving for a deposit, and the growing proportion of Australians who will never own a home
    the ever widening urban fringe,
    the very very cost of expanding existing public infrastructure,
    the high carbon emissions associated with low density sprawl,
    under-utilized public transport
    the mismatch between our current urban form, our real needs in terms of housing, and the needs and aspirations of an aging population
    the financial inability of Governments to maintain existing stocks of public housing – let alone build new stock,
    the financial inequity which exists between those who reside in public housing now who have $100-200 per week more to live on, than their neighbors living in the private rental market, that is after allowing for receipt of Centrelink Rent Assistance payments.

    MAP is a potential solution to all of these issues, but only if it is planned and implemented with the courage and determination needed to maximum public benefits, and mitigate private impacts.

    Strict compliance with what a MAP permits and restricts, and how deviations from these are monitored and dealt with, are implicit in permitting a MAP in the first place.

    Criticism which fails to take into account the planning and regulation implicit in MAP, is criticism of some other land use, not MAP as I envisage it.

    The media can play a role in spreading misinformation because it gives air to criticism which is not relevant or inaccurate. Instead of ignoring or discrediting the comments due to their irrelevance, or because they be a deliberate attempt to mislead or confuse, the media is just as likely to publish the comments to create controversy, knowing full well that these totally unhelpful and potentially very damaging statements, will generate attract more media interest than an accurate balanced coverage of the situation.

    So it may be better for exponents like myself to try and stay under the media radar as we attempt to launch a new land use provision nationwide, because the bad publicity may make it even harder for land use advocates to implement MAP style planning provisions in the future.

    But personally, it is not easy to drop this idea. I believe I have a unique insight into the problems and solutions at hand. My careers have included: property valuer, government land use planner, town planner, residential property developer, student of urban design, owner of a dozen rental houses, indigenous community development consultant, social planner, third world community worker, and social researcher. I feel I have a rare combination of personal life experience and professional knowledge to help solve to the housing affordability crisis. So I feel it is my duty to contribute good ideas, and encourage people to consider them. I would like to leave Australia and the planet a better place than I found it.

    Answers to questions like the ones below would provide useful media commentary on MAP.

    How do MAPs differ from the accommodation units permitted in backyards by many Councils today?
    How does MAP differ from caravan parks and manufactured home villages as we know them?
    How can MAP save me or my children money, and will they be just another drain on the Public Purse?
    Is MAP for everyone, or will different MAPs suit different people’s specific preferences, needs and abilities?
    Is MAP the perfect marriage of socialism and capitalism?

    Such stories would generate useful debate if handled professionally by journalists and editors. If your media outlet wants to help me get the MAP on the map, please contact me.

    I would love to offer you more in the way of photos or illustrations or comparative land use costings, and details of the monitoring techniques used to protect internal and/or surrounding residential amenity. I would love to provide you with the financial modelling of case studies accounting for all of the private and public benefits accruing from the adoption of MAP, but I can’t.

    I hope to do this by successfully pitching to Universities, Institutes or Government Departments for a Seat of MAP Studies somewhere which will enable close collaboration with relevant housing industry, urban development and opinion shapers to help make MAP a reality.

    If you are interested in exploring these possibilities further, please let me know.

    Tony Foley

    Home/Office 07 54412428
    Mob 0477282479
    Email anthonyrfoley@gmail.com

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