Why hasn’t the “tiny house movement” got big in the UK?

For those Brits who have never heard of the “Tiny house movement” (which is a surprisingly large number) here is a summary from the site thetinylife.com :

Simply put it is a social movement where people are downsizing the space that they live in. The typical American home is around 2600 square feet, while the typical small or tiny house is around 100-400 square feet. Tiny Houses come in all shapes, sizes and forms but they focus on smaller spaces and simplified living.

Downsizing here in Britain is common, but mainly the reserve of the over 50’s who are looking to move into a nice little cottage, now their kids have flown the nest but the movement in the US has a larger following amongst those with environmental concerns, who are looking to minimise their impact on the environment.

To me this is a very attractive concept; it gives the opportunity to design and build a small efficient home with little negative environmental impact. It also has the benefit of smaller bills and less time spent on maintenance. Most of us here in the UK rent, for a multitude of reasons but the main one being the prohibitive cost of buying your own home. So why with all these benefits on the cards has this idea not caught on here in good old blighty?

I believe it is a combination of 2 things, over-regulation and stereotyping. On one hand it is very difficult to build your own home here in the UK, with planning permissions severely dished out by shortsighted councils only to those wishing to build traditional style homes. Also here in the UK even a tent is classed as a “residential development” if it stands in the same place for more than 28 days. Then there are the stereotypes which are dished out to those wanting a more mobile approach; People don’t want to be labelled as “hippies” or “trailer trash” to coin an American phrase.

I think we’re missing a trick here. Imagine not having to spend more than 50% of your monthly income on rent and bills, imagine being able to move at the drop of the hat, imagine not having to worry what impact you are having on the world at large.

There is a whole host of images and videos on the web showing these wonderfully ingenious homes and the people living happy live in them, so why don’t we go the same way?

I think the main reason here in the UK is the sociological one, people aren’t willing to fight the councils and the planning regulations in order to be labelled as a “scrounging hippy” or “travellers”. This is a shame because the UK is bursting with creative and ecologically minded individuals. And I think that if we stopped thinking that we are fighting a losing battle, the UK might have a tiny house movement of it’s own.

 

If you would like to read more about the tiny house movement please visit:

http://www.thetinylife.com/what-is-the-tiny-house-movement/

http://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/life-10k-home-friends-backyard.html

http://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/seventies-back-land-pioneer-explores-tiny-house-movement.html

http://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/12-year-old-sicily-kolbeck-building-her-own-tiny-house.html

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