Curbed Austin wasn’t around when Curbed had its first Micro Week—an examination and celebration of things tiny in our cities—so we have a lot of catching up to do.
It’s not like our city is a stranger to the concept (although our land development code has some catching up to do). Until very recently, we had lovely, wooded RV parks full of Airstreams and other small RVs where people plopped down roots more or less permanently in the middle of town, and a sizable segment of our population has exhibited an Airstream fetish at one point or another. We have an active community of people building, buying, selling, and trading information about tiny homes (as well as those who go tiny solo). We have developers building and marketing tiny apartments, especially in East Austin.
Austin is also the home of "Professor Dumpster"—Jeff Wilson, who teaches at Huston-Tillotson University and started the Dumpster Project by living in a sustainable home he created out of a dumpster for a year (more about that in a bit). The Community First village in East Austin is getting homeless residents into permanent homes in a village of tiny houses and RVs. And eight ingenious Austinites (along with architects and other pros) designed and built "Bestie Row" on the Llano River about an hour and half from here; lifelong friends, they were inspired by the tiny house movement to create their own retirement village of tiny houses with a bigger commons space for the four couples to get together in.
Of course, what constitutes "tiny" here might be different from what it is in other places; we’re still part of Texas, after all. While our ongoing boom has challenged us to create more density in our city core, informally we still call anything under 800 square feet "small," and the smallest living spaces we could find for sale measure around 350 square feet (as opposed to, say the 150 square feet or less that isn’t uncommon in some places). But we’re downscaling radically, at least compared to where we started, nevertheless.
For all those reasons—and let's face it, because it's fun—Curbed is kicking off its second Micro Week, and we’re jumping in. That's right, five days of stories, photos, and maps that celebrate small-space living. Expect us to tour some wee homes and find out what it’s like to live in them, explore the city's smallest neighborhood, crunch the numbers on where to find (or avoid?) the tiniest rentals, map the city’s smallest homes on the market, check in with the folks at Kasita (the Dumpster Project’s plan for a building of modular, mobile micro-apartmenta), take a walk in the city’s tiniest park, and more.
If you want to let us know about something so tiny we missed it, or just have something to say, the tipline, as always, awaits.