Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Minisize me!

One set of links on this page deals with small and sustainable buildings. Last night, a friend of mine brought to my attention the possible introduction to the American market of a car that can get up to 60 mpg in highway driving and it is truly tiny - able to park two to a parking space. And I find myself struggling with just a touch of envy. I have no desire to own a bigger car or a 4,000 square foot house that I'd never be able to heat, cool, or furnish, anyway, but I do want a little house and a tiny car.

And when I say little, I mean little - while as a child I designed dream houses with my brother that would be connected to each other by roller coasters, and would have room to house my entire extended family unto many generations, my dreams today are considerably more modest, but still incredibly difficult. You see, I'd like to be able to put more than one of the tiny houses on a single urban lot - maybe only 2, but possibly as many as 4 or 5, and share certain resources among the residents - say, a central courtyard arrangement with outdoor cooking facilities (maybe a largish grill, a couple picnic tables, and a masonry pizza oven - an obvious solution to overheating the small houses in summer - gather for dinner outside with the whole small community and cook outdoors) and garden plots (Mmmm. fresh produce.). Such houses would require no more space than my current apartment, but would afford considerably more in the way of contact with the outdoors, contact with neighbors (though my building is pretty good about this - we tend to gather in the lobby around the entry desk), and privacy (as in, I get really tired of listening to my neighbors as they get into the elevator and empty their trash - my apartment is right in that corner.)

And yet, while one can buy small houses (though few are so small as some of the plans I'm linked to, which would officially be classified as garden sheds in my county) in order to take the roof off and convert them to 3-story large residences, even buying an unusual or hard to build lot and putting on my little houses would not be permitted under my county's zoning ordinances. Meh.


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