09/30 Big ideas for tiny houses: Planned commune for tiny-house residents bumps into practical concerns

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…But that’s the point. Tiny houses aren’t just about tiny houses. They are also about very big ideological changes. For many invested in the tiny house movement, these ideological changes herald a new set of values, acting as a critique of the consumerism that structures many American presuppositions.

“The bigger picture isn’t working for people anymore,” Plummer said shortly after my tiny tour. We were sitting at his kitchen table while his dog, Theodore, a pup of an indeterminate breed, did excited laps around the house. “We’ve been pumped for years with all that commercialism. You have to have more stuff. You have to buy this. You have to have that.”

Despite the sharp edge of Plummer’s critique, he wielded his vision with a light touch. He leaned back in his chair, smiled at the absurdity of it all, and then relayed a telling anecdote. He currently works in information technology and recently, at his office, he asked one of his colleagues if he could borrow a pen. She gave him a whole handful. “God, how many do you think I need?” he wondered. “I just have to write something. I don’t need five of them.”

The American Tiny House Association, formed earlier this year to further promote tiny house living, neatly echoes some of the core values at work in Plummer’s anecdote, namely: simplicity, sustainability, creativity, affordable lifestyles, autonomy, community and inclusion.

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Elaine Walker