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← Tiny homes of the future | Lara Nobel | TEDxSouthBank

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Showing Revision 12 created 08/10/2016 by Ellen.

  1. Some of my friends have bought a house,
  2. a reasonably priced,
    three or four bedroom.
  3. Not expensive, but enough to tie them
    to a 30-year mortgage.
  4. They work a nine-hour day, and travel
    two hours to get there and back.
  5. By the time they get home, relax, sleep;
  6. they have to get up and do it all again.
  7. Sometimes they say
    they feel a little bit trapped.
  8. Realistically, half of the rooms
    in that house are empty all the time.
  9. And they're always looking forward
    to their next holiday,
  10. away from it all -
  11. the house included.
  12. Apparently, this is quite normal.
  13. My partner Andrew and I
    are at about this point in our lives.
  14. But the idea of striving for this kind
    of lifestyle seems out of balance.
  15. Health, nature, and time
    feels like it's being traded
  16. for house, money, and stuff.
  17. I guess, most of us follow the same path:
    buy as much as we can afford,
  18. in the best area we can afford,
    and adjust our lifestyles to suit.
  19. Usually this means
    a big house in the suburbs
  20. with a bit of a commute.
  21. The problem I have with this is that
    I believe our physical environments
  22. enforce habits, both good and bad.
  23. We build the world's biggest houses,
    and fill them with stuff,
  24. worsening our ecological footprint.
  25. Many of our houses are quite insular,
  26. turning their backs on neighbors
    and the public street.
  27. We take out crippling mortgages
  28. in our pursuit for the great
    Australian dream,
  29. and sacrifice our welfare,
    our relationships, and our hobbies.
  30. So this was a bit of a problem for us.
  31. What we really wanted was something
    a lot smaller and more flexible
  32. than what the market offered.
  33. We wanted to buy something
    within our means,
  34. and have our lifestyle adapt our home,
    not the other way around.
  35. Our homes could be so much more,
    and take so much less.
  36. They could offer us easy ways
    to process our own waste,
  37. or recycle our water.
  38. They could offer us ways to collect
    and monitor our energy usage,
  39. or foster connected communities.
  40. And of course, like many problems,
    this isn't just a personal problem,
  41. this issue is broader;
    it's on the national and global scale.
  42. Our homes demand huge amounts
    of energy to build and operate.
  43. Not only this, but they produce
    large amounts of waste.
  44. And the land clearing required
    for new low-density development
  45. is an ongoing problem.
  46. And yet, we stubbornly march forward,
    building bigger and bigger houses yearly.
  47. The average floor plan size
    or the average area of our houses
  48. has steadily grown over the past 15 years.
  49. And simultaneously, the number of people
    living in these houses has declined.
  50. And to top it all off, many of us
    can't even afford to buy a house.
  51. The average price of our houses
    in Australian capital cities
  52. is now more than seven times
    our average annual income.
  53. That's huge.
  54. So the last year my partner and I,
    and a builder-mate of ours,
  55. teamed up with his small crew as well,
    to design and build an alternative.
  56. Something based on our desires,
    and not the market expectations.
  57. You may have heard of the term,
    a "tiny house" before.
  58. In our case, it's essentially
    a fully functioning house
  59. condensed down into 18 square meters,
  60. which is two car-parking spaces.
  61. The product is a home
    that is transportable,
  62. more affordable than the average house,
  63. and also, more environmentally friendly.
  64. So let me give you a quick tour.
  65. The house is built on a trailer,
  66. so you can tow a fully functioning house
    onto site and park it there.
  67. You enter the house via the deck.
  68. The deck is made up of modular panels,
    that attach to the side of the house
  69. when you arrive on site,
    doubling the width.
  70. The doors and windows are made
    of recycled floor joists of old cottages,
  71. and this recycled timber-fill
    is continued through on the bench tops,
  72. the shelves, and the decking boards.
  73. Because space is such an issue,
  74. it was important to maintain
    good views through the house.
  75. So the front entry windows and doors
  76. line up with the windows
    in front of the kitchen.
  77. Once inside, you are presented
    with long views through the house.
  78. The rhythm of the portal frames
    helps to organise the space,
  79. and reduce the feeling of clutter.
  80. Up one end, is an L-shaped
    lounge space,
  81. and behind that
    is floor-to-ceiling storage.
  82. By day, this is a lounge space,
  83. and by night, a bed
    is lowered down from the ceiling.
  84. In the central space,
    on one side is the kitchen bench,
  85. and on the other side is a narrow bench,
  86. which turns into the vanity
    and the laundry space.
  87. And at the far end is the bathroom,
  88. which is separated from
    the main space by a sliding door.
  89. The bathroom contains a full-size shower,
    and a composting toilet,
  90. because this one was designed
    to be able to be off-grid.
  91. Above the backroom space is a loft,
  92. which could be used
    as additional sleeping space
  93. for a double or a queen bed,
    or for more storage space.
  94. It was really important for us
  95. to make the space feel
    a lot bigger than it actually is.
  96. And some of the strategies
    we used for this
  97. were the high ceilings with the louvers,
  98. white walls,
  99. views were carefully organised
    through and down the space,
  100. and strategic placement of some mirrors.
  101. Of course, aesthetics aside,
  102. it was important that it functions
    really well as a house.
  103. So in such a small home,
    storage was really important.
  104. We had to exploit every
    opportunity we could:
  105. under the floor, in the walls,
    around the wheel-arches, in the furniture.
  106. Of course, as well,
    we had to enact different scenarios
  107. of how the space would be used.
  108. So, what would we do
    when we had guests over?
  109. How could the space be rearranged
    for different activities of the day?
  110. So far, the capacity has been 30.
  111. (Laughter)
  112. In designing the house,
  113. we had to fit a lot of things
    into quite a small space.
  114. But for us, the ultimate
    measure of success
  115. was were we able to retain
    the essence of a home.
  116. Sure, it's not for everyone,
    but it suits us well.
  117. Being built on a trailer meant
    that there are many alternatives
  118. for how the space is used.
  119. People who own land
    could expand their space
  120. by adding an additional
    bit of accommodation.
  121. Those that don't own land,
    it can open up many options for them.
  122. And that is the case
    with my partner and I.
  123. Arrangements can be made,
    and if you bring your home with you,
  124. it's amazing where
    you can find places to live.
  125. There's also opportunities for people
    who have live-in workers
  126. or dependent family members,
  127. even holiday accommodation.
  128. Of course, there's also
    further things to consider
  129. with movable, small modular homes
  130. about disaster relief housing,
    and communities that want to be off-grid,
  131. or more remote properties.
  132. And a tiny house
    that can function fully off-grid
  133. works well in those scenarios.
  134. Another issue that is worth briefly
    mentioning is our aging population,
  135. and various different ways our housing
  136. might not be tailored
    well enough for that,
  137. and how small dwellings could be used
  138. either in the property of children
    for elderly parents,
  139. or even in the back
    of their own properties,
  140. and they could rent
    or sell their larger house,
  141. and still stay in their own community.
  142. With a bit of creative thinking
    and collaboration with counsels,
  143. developers, neighbors, friends, family,
  144. I believe we could overcome
    a lot of issues we have with our housing.
  145. Whether we like it or not,
    our housing is a reflection of who we are
  146. and what we value as a society.
  147. So the status quo of Australian
    housing should concern us.
  148. We are building bigger and bigger houses,
    and we need not; perhaps we should not.
  149. I don't want to try and convince
    you all to live in a tiny house.
  150. What I would like to pose is a challenge
  151. to dismiss our preconceptions,
  152. to put aside those preconceptions
    about our home and to really think
  153. what do we want our home to provide.
  154. I think that only
    when we get to that point
  155. can we reflect on what's really important
    in our homes, and our lifestyles.
  156. It's very difficult
    to put a price on a lifestyle.
  157. But for me, it's definitely
    worth more than the fourth bedroom.
  158. (Applause)