What’s better than a tiny house? A tiny house on wheels

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More and more cities are legalizing backyard houses. But tiny, mobile homes are even cheaper to build and buy, and their adoption could cause a massive increase in alternative housing options. Tiny houses—homes sometimes as small as 150 square feet, popularized on reality shows such as Tiny House Nation —have had a longstanding challenge. You might be able to buy or build one for relatively little money, but because they’re typically constructed on a trailer with wheels, the zoning codes in most cities make them illegal. Tiny-house forums online are filled with people asking how they can find a place to park their new homes. But a growing number of cities are beginning to change local regulations to allow the houses, and that could make a meaningful difference for affordable housing. Read Full Story

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These modular rooms let cities quickly and cheaply build housing for the homeless

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Connect Homes started making modular tiny houses, but now cities are starting to use its units as a quick way to build new supportive housing. Inside a factory in San Bernardino, California, workers are putting together small, modular homeless shelters that will soon be placed on trucks and shipped to Silicon Valley. Each tiny building, with four units inside, is built in roughly a day. And while a single unit of permanent supportive housing can cost $500,000, a bedroom like this costs $20,000. Read Full Story

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45 innovative solutions for beautiful, easy-to-build housing to help cities with the homelessness crisis

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The Rapid Shelter Innovation Showcase is a clearing house for smart ideas on how to lower construction times for cities in need of new housing for people living on the street or after a disaster. When a tiny factory-built house from a startup called Boxabl arrives at a building site, the walls and roof are designed to quickly unfold, and the entire home can be assembled within just a few hours. The design is one of dozens listed on a new website that shares housing concepts that cities can use to rapidly respond to homelessness or in the case of a disaster. Read Full Story

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Cheap, green, and beautiful: The future of housing, according to this year’s Solar Decathlon winners

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The winners of the 2021 Solar Decathlon Build Challenge show how to build energy-efficient housing in extreme climates—the kinds of conditions climate change will only make more prevalent. The next generation of energy-efficient homes is on its way. Nine new homes have just completed construction in cities across the United States, offering a glimpse of how homes can be green, affordable, and beautiful. Read Full Story

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This wild-looking house is made out of dirt by a giant 3D printer

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These 645-square-foot domed buildings were printed in Italy over the course of 200 hours. Giant 3D printers for construction can help make housing more affordable—as in a neighborhood in Austin, Texas, where a 33-foot-long machine recently squeezed out the walls of tiny new houses for people who were once chronically homeless . But an Italian architecture firm is experimenting with a way to potentially make the process even less expensive, and better for the climate, by using a cheap and readily available building material: local soil. Read Full Story

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These quick-build disaster shelters can later become permanent houses

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Better Shelter starts as a simple tent to help house people after they lose their homes. But it’s designed to be upgraded with local materials into a home that can last 10 years. After an earthquake or flood, the emergency relief tents that are often sent by aid organizations to people who lost their homes don’t last long—after six months or a year, the tents will probably become trash or, at best, be used for scraps. But nonprofits are now testing a new type of emergency shelter: a simple structure that could be built within hours, but that could later be adapted with local materials to become a more permanent house. Read Full Story

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Exclusive: Chicago’s new brand identity could save the city $10 million a year

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Chicago wants you to make its brand your own. The four-starred Chicago flag flies with pride on bricked bungalows and tattooed biceps around the city. The first star represents Fort Dearborn, the military outpost that became the city. The second marks the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which burned most of the city down. The third stands for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, which brought us the Ferris wheel as an enduring architecture masterpiece. And the fourth was for the Century of Progress Exposition in 1933, marking the end of the Great Depression and the rise of the Atomic Age. Read Full Story

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100 apartments in 8 months: How Toronto built housing for the homeless at breakneck speed

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The city used modular architecture to respond to a dire need for housing during a deadly pandemic. The project could be a model for other cities—during COVID-19 and beyond. In the face of overlapping crises, the city of Toronto has created a fast track to house people experiencing homelessness. As the impacts of the pandemic quickly hit this community harder than others, the city accelerated its efforts to build permanent supportive housing, using modular architecture. Just a few months after the project was launched, the city will have 100 new apartments. Read Full Story

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