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We don’t need megacities; we need an “Internet of Spaces”

Tinyhouse University

Tinyhouse University | Van Bo Le-Mentzel

Why tiny houses could herald a new era of urban planning. A plea for rethinking city planning by Van Bo Le-Mentzel

 

At the moment, everyone is talking about the Internet of Things: the networking of disparate areas is making possible new systems and functions. For example, self-driving vehicles work because cars, traffic lights, and street maps are connected to each other. For that, though, we need a new understanding of citizenship. And that’s exactly where Tiny Houses come into play.

„I dream of an internet of spaces, a linkage of public spaces.“

 

What would the world look like if one temporarily set up tiny house villages on all public squares and connected them to each other? To be sure, tiny houses on wheels are no alternative to conventional homes or apartments. After all, they are only 10 square meters in size. But this is about more than just compact living. For the way in which they are built and used could perhaps provide the basis for the democratization of urban planning.

 

How it all started

It initially began with the California artist Jay Shafer asking himself what would be left over from a house if you took out everything that was superfluous. When I myself developed the One-Sqm House in 2012, I couldn’t anticipate that one day a movement would develop out of it that made into the mainstream. There are an estimated 100 tiny houses in Germany. None is higher than 2.55 meters because the traffic regulations want it that way. And none is higher than 4 meters because the bridges want it that way.

 

The European tiny house movement began about four years ago. There is now a tiny house scene in nearly every European country – above all in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, and Germany. Even IKEA recently developed kitchens and lighting for tiny houses. A tiny house costs 50,000 euros on average. So we’re not talking here about a peripheral phenomenon of a few houses, but rather a movement of the middle class.