Evaluating Tiny Houses as a Solution to the Housing Affordability and Environmental Crises


  • Andrea Chang Student




Tiny houses have captured the attention of North American media, with HGTV, the major cable television channel, alone showing three tiny-house related shows: Tiny House Hunters, Tiny House Builders, and Tiny House, Big Living (“HGTV Canada”). One of the first results to appear is the official “Tiny Homes in Canada” website, which claims that tiny homes sit at “the intersection of the housing crisis and the climate crisis” (Tiny Homes in Canada). Notably, this website also proclaims that the tiny home community is a “culturally idealistic response to financial desperation” (Tiny Homes in Canada) and sustainability. Much scholarly research supports the notion that the two primary drivers for tiny house living are affordability and sustainability (Evans; Shearer and Burton). In this paper, I evaluate the actual potential for tiny houses to serve as a solution to the housing affordability and environmental crises, especially in Ontario, Canada. I find that though tiny houses have the potential to be a solution for the housing affordability and environmental crises, they are not a current solution because Ontario legislation renders them somewhat inaccessible. I also explore the lifestyle choices and social conditions associated with tiny house living, as a housing option that is both idealistic (presented as a solution to the overwhelming housing affordability and environmental crises) and pragmatic (financially feasible).



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