Tiny homes are all the rage. So why do so few communities welcome them?

tags: housing, Tiny houses

Nancy C. Unger is chair of the history department at Santa Clara University. Her books include " Beyond Nature's Housekeepers: American Women in Environmental History"

Tiny houses are being hailed as an affordable answer for big cities — and are so trendy that they even warrant their own HGTV show. Their boosters promote them as the solution to problems ranging from homelessness to environmental waste to the housing crunch.

Yet opposition to their incorporation stretches from Charlotte to Bend, Ore. And it’s not only in urban areas that tiny homes are met with hostility. Many suburban communities are also using any means possible, including planning commissions and zoning laws, to prevent small, mobile housing units from gaining a toehold.

Those resisting the tiny-house movement frequently cite fears that it will bring down the prices of existing homes. As a San Jose resident put it, “People are sympathetic toward the homeless, but to put this in an established neighborhood doesn’t make sense.”

Reasonable on their face, this and similar arguments have historically served as covers for more nefarious and selfish motives. The debate over tiny houses today simply puts a modern gloss on an old housing problem: Profits and the convenience of the wealthy win out over the needs of the poor, even when the result is homelessness.

Implicit in such arguments is the notion that communities would embrace tiny- house developments if — magically — current urban and suburban areas had an opportunity to rebuild and incorporate tiny houses at the planning stage. ...

Read entire article at The Washington Post

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