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Growing Tiny Houses: Motivations and Opportunities for Expansion Through Niche Markets

Mutter, Amelia LU (2013) In IIIEE Master thesis IMEN56 20131
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
Abstract
The increase in population and urbanization has led to widespread concern about the resulting
volume of consumption. This is especially problematic in the housing market, where home
size continues to grow. In the United States the average size of a single-family home has
doubled since 1950, leading to a profound environmental impact. This paper will seek to
address the problem of overconsumption by considering the benefits of intentionally
downsizing in favour of smaller homes that still provide a good quality of life. Tiny houses
have a demonstrably reduced impact on the environment as compared to large conventional
houses. This paper works to improve understanding of tiny housing motivations and
challenges before considering the... (More)
The increase in population and urbanization has led to widespread concern about the resulting
volume of consumption. This is especially problematic in the housing market, where home
size continues to grow. In the United States the average size of a single-family home has
doubled since 1950, leading to a profound environmental impact. This paper will seek to
address the problem of overconsumption by considering the benefits of intentionally
downsizing in favour of smaller homes that still provide a good quality of life. Tiny houses
have a demonstrably reduced impact on the environment as compared to large conventional
houses. This paper works to improve understanding of tiny housing motivations and
challenges before considering the application of niche markets to the tiny housing sector in
hopes of expanding the trend.
Through a popular media review and eleven interviews with members of the North American
tiny housing community, this study finds that the primary motivations for involvement include
interest in a simpler life, sustainability and environmentalism, cost, freedom and mobility, a
sense of community and an interest in design, while the primary challenges are zoning and
legal aspects, preconceptions, and occasionally lack of financing. Additionally, several
potential niche markets were defined including young adults, students, retirees, seniors,
individuals needing extra space, and tiny housing communities. Each of these niche markets
was evaluated against a list of niche analysis functions: improved social support networks, improved
knowledge and performance, articulation and adjustment of expectations, legitimization/stabilization, and
resource mobilization. Through this niche function analysis, retirees and tiny housing
communities were assessed to have the strongest potential of success. Niche function analysis
was then carried out in a case study of student housing in Lund, Sweden, where the local
student housing foundation has been working to establish compact housing to meet the high
demand for student rooms. Completion of a niche function analysis determined that this
project has a strong possibility of success due to the assistance of the student housing
foundation in completing the niche functions. (Less)
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author
Mutter, Amelia LU
supervisor
organization
course
IMEN56 20131
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Tiny houses, compact housing, sustainable consumption, niche markets, technological transition
publication/series
IIIEE Master thesis
report number
2013:01
ISSN
1401-9191
language
English
id
4196241
date added to LUP
2013-12-17 14:52:41
date last changed
2013-12-17 14:52:41
@misc{4196241,
  abstract     = {The increase in population and urbanization has led to widespread concern about the resulting
volume of consumption. This is especially problematic in the housing market, where home
size continues to grow. In the United States the average size of a single-family home has
doubled since 1950, leading to a profound environmental impact. This paper will seek to
address the problem of overconsumption by considering the benefits of intentionally
downsizing in favour of smaller homes that still provide a good quality of life. Tiny houses
have a demonstrably reduced impact on the environment as compared to large conventional
houses. This paper works to improve understanding of tiny housing motivations and
challenges before considering the application of niche markets to the tiny housing sector in
hopes of expanding the trend.
Through a popular media review and eleven interviews with members of the North American
tiny housing community, this study finds that the primary motivations for involvement include
interest in a simpler life, sustainability and environmentalism, cost, freedom and mobility, a
sense of community and an interest in design, while the primary challenges are zoning and
legal aspects, preconceptions, and occasionally lack of financing. Additionally, several
potential niche markets were defined including young adults, students, retirees, seniors,
individuals needing extra space, and tiny housing communities. Each of these niche markets
was evaluated against a list of niche analysis functions: improved social support networks, improved
knowledge and performance, articulation and adjustment of expectations, legitimization/stabilization, and
resource mobilization. Through this niche function analysis, retirees and tiny housing
communities were assessed to have the strongest potential of success. Niche function analysis
was then carried out in a case study of student housing in Lund, Sweden, where the local
student housing foundation has been working to establish compact housing to meet the high
demand for student rooms. Completion of a niche function analysis determined that this
project has a strong possibility of success due to the assistance of the student housing
foundation in completing the niche functions.},
  author       = {Mutter, Amelia},
  issn         = {1401-9191},
  keyword      = {Tiny houses,compact housing,sustainable consumption,niche markets,technological transition},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {IIIEE Master thesis},
  title        = {Growing Tiny Houses: Motivations and Opportunities for Expansion Through Niche Markets},
  year         = {2013},
}