Would you live in a Tiny House Village - a cluster of cottages with a large community common house? Would you believe it could be built and make housing affordable in the urban East Bay and San Francisco? Would you like to meet someone who has a vision and design for how it can be done, and is recruiting investors and future residents to collaborate on designing these new neighborhoods?
Our friend Rabbit (a Berkeley Student Coop Lothlorien alumni who is part of the SpaghettiNight dinner series hosted by cooperative houses in rotation) put forward an idea for such a community on the series' email list, and budding architect/designer Alfred Twu of FirstCultural created some renderings and ran the numbers for how it could be done. We're excited but not convinced that it really is feasible - let's crowdsource our reality-checking and bring our collective wisdom and experience to bear.
Come see the vision and hear Alfred present the concept, and places it could be done, based on finding currently-vacant lots in Berkeley, Oakland, and even San Francisco.
Join us to discuss what the dynamics of what such a place could be:
- Would it work if each house didn't have its own bathroom facilities?
- How about kitchens?
- Would neighbors allow it?
- Would cities approve it?
- Would it serve people at different stages of life?
Some initial thoughts about how it could be structured, from Alfred:
- Regardless of square footage a permit is needed, but lofts are a great idea. They would allow more space without the complexity of going 2-story.
- Land trust ownership structure seems to be a good way of doing it
- I agree there should be a common space unit. Would folks still want their own kitchens if there was a communal one? Since zoning counts kitchens this would provide a lot of flexibility.
- the advantage of tiny houses vs. one big house is the ability to do it incrementally. Getting a big chunk of financing together for several people to cooperatively buy a house seems to be complex. New tiny houses would also add to the supply of housing, and lock in a cooperative way of living in that site, as such a village could not be turned back into boring housing the way a regular house could.
- utility hookups & permitting are probably the most expensive part, this would favor a model of a living room, kitchen, and bath bldg with utilities and a few offgrid bedroom buildings. the next door lot of an existing house would also be ideal.
We still want to hear some specific numbers of what people would be willing to pay per month - either in rent or in an installment purchase plan - to live in such a village as that will really be a key factor in whether or not this is possible.
Alfred did a study of what it would look like in downtown Oakland, and the numbers are impressive, perhaps even unbelievable -- let's look at these and see if they really include all the costs: