It’s no secret that tiny homes have become exceedingly popular in recent years – a signifier of minimalist bohemian living in response to the excesses of the current day.
From reoutfitted RV’s to prefabricated Muji homes to futuristic Nestron pods, the world of architecture has seen a variety of tiny houses gain viral attention in the past decade alone.
As this typology grows more widespread around the world, communities of these tiny homes have proliferated as well, popping up in North America, New Zealand, East Asia, and more.
These communities combine the quaint lifestyle of minimalist living with collective spaces for social interaction, bringing together like-minded families and individuals into fashionable tiny neighborhoods. We will examine several such communities below
Tiny homes are traditionally 500 square feet or less, and many prioritize affordability or sustainability. They are commonly located in rural or suburban areas, emphasizing a connection to nature and relative self-sufficiency.
Because the tiny home trend is so new, some governments have been slow to create and approve legislation addressing these communities specifically.
For this reason, tiny house communities are less common than individual tiny homes, yet they can still be found around the world.
Spur, Texas, United States
The first town in the U.S. to welcome tiny homes, Spur, Texas is a classic example of a tiny house community. Calling for the preservation of rural living and a re-emphasized appreciation of nature, especially as the world becomes increasingly urban, Spur’s driving motivation is the idea that tiny houses in small towns yield maximum freedom, community, and self-sufficiency. The town’s organization reflects these values accordingly: anyone owning a tiny house or planning to build one can purchase a lot and move into the town, but certain aesthetic requirements and shared utilities create the essential community spirit. All tiny houses must feature wood or metal framing, flush toilets that connect to city utilities, and proper electrical work. In turn, the town is wired with fiber-optics to ensure that dwellers remain connected.
Terrace, British Columbia, Canada
While Spur was the first tiny home town in the United States, Canada’s first is Bluegrass Meadows Micro Village, located in a remote, forested area of British Columbia surrounded by mountains and a nearby river. Created in response to the lack of affordable rentals in Terrace, the tiny homes in Bluegrass start at only $700 per month. The village also offers empty lots for owners to bring their own tiny homes. To provide amenities for the community, the village contains a common cabin with laundry facilities and offers water utilities, power, sewage, recycling, internet, and snow removal in the winter. It also plans to add a BBQ and fire pit area, communal garden, and a recreation area.
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Created by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Airstream Village in Las Vegas, Nevada, is a tiny home neighborhood that creates community not only through aesthetic standardization and utilities but through shared amenities including a playground, swimming pools, stage, fire pits, and more. These shared spaces facilitate communal gathering and reduce the need for social space within the homes themselves, saving precious floor area. Inspired in part by the Burning Man festival, Airstream Village also hosts numerous art installations. There are two options for the home designs themselves – the 240 square foot Airstream trailer and 140 square foot Tumbleweed cabin. The Airstreams include wood paneling, stainless steel appliances, televisions, and a communal kitchen and laundry facilities. The Tumbleweed tiny houses feature less technology but offer a homey cabin-like aesthetic. Airstream Village is also affectionately called “Llamapolis” because it doubles as a home for Hsieh’s alpacas Marley and Tritono.
San Diego, California, United States
While Airstream Village is a relatively hipster, high-tech living community, Tiny House Block outside of San Diego, California pulls away from technology. Its mission is expressly to reconnect individuals to nature and genuine community, facilitated by its proximity to the mountains and numerous hiking trails as well as its onsite restaurant and tavern. It offers both short term and long term stays in a variety of prebuilt quaint tiny home models, including “Farmhouse,” “Crystal Zen,” “Blue Sky,” “Flower Fun,” and many more. In line with their mission of natural living away from the distractions of the modern world, the houses don’t offer TVs but feature board games, books, and private backyards, some with fire pits.
Kurkku Fields, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
Started by music producer Takeshi Kobayashi, Kurkku Fields takes sustainable living one step further. Primarily a sustainable farm and park that includes a tiny house village on the side, Kurkku Fields includes an organic vegetable farm, a free-range chicken ranch, an indoor dining room that serves food from the farm, outdoor art installations by Yayoi Kusama, Anish Kapoor, and Camille Henrot among others, a solar farm, a bio geo filter for additional energy, and more. The tiny house village is only available for short-term stays, but it includes a variety of different models that emphasize sustainability and natural living equally.
Fairplay, Colorado, United States
Another popular tiny home vacation spot is the Whispering Aspen Village in Fairplay, Colorado, located in the Mosquito Mountain Range and a haven for skiers and snowboarders. Featuring over 20 existing cabins for rent as well as several RV’s and tiny houses on wheels, the village includes several community facilities such as a club house and recreation areas. The cabins are designed in a quaint, rustic style that matches their snowy surroundings.
Muriwai, New Zealand
Pioneered by entrepreneur Kyron Gosse and his company Go Tiny, The Micro Collective in Muriwai is intended to be New Zealand’s first tiny house village. Gosse planned for the village to consist of tiny houses all built by their owners, emphasizing freedom and self-sufficiency. At the center of the village would be a plant-based café and co-working space to create community. While the village has not yet been built, it is intended to empower the tiny house movement in New Zealand, where there have been legal difficulties with tiny house living in the past.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Because of their affordability, tiny homes have the potential to be more than a bohemian living style for hipsters and entrepreneurs – they can also provide essential housing for the homeless. The "Homes for Heroes" village in Calgary was designed specifically for homeless veterans, an initiative led by the Homes for Heroes Foundation and intended to help veterans get back on their feet. Thus, the village comes with specialized programs designed for this purpose, including mentoring, case management, and counseling services. The 275 square foot tiny homes are fully equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, workstation, bedroom, and living area, and include utilities such as heat, water, phone, internet, and security. Rent, which includes all of these utilities and services, costs half as much as the average price of a one-bedroom apartment in Calgary.