11/23 Where should a good millennial live?

Home Sweet Home painted on the side of a truck

A few years ago the tiny house movement was just for hard-core hippies and sharing-economy fundamentalists, but as the idea has spread its been associated with young Americans…

What’s so exciting about the idea of millennials living in boxes? Part of the appeal is ecological; suburban living with its high carbon emissions and water-wasting lawns has been an—if not the—ideal form of American shelter for many decades, but young people see it as increasingly unsustainable environmentally. Higher population density is a sensible urban planning solution. If wealthy older Americans don’t plan to change their lifestyles, than they at least appreciate the idea of younger people taking it upon themselves to fix things. Like vegetarianism, small living is thoughtful, responsible consumption….

For millennials, whose generational identity has been crafted by media outlets they don’t own (like this one), it’s hard to differentiate our own desires from what’s desired of us. Compared to an apartment or a house, living in a truck or a tiny house, it should go without saying, is a decline in living conditions. As is paying 42 percent of your income for shelter today instead of 25 percent in 1998, like residents of New York City do. By characterizing millennials as lifestyle innovators, the class that owns the media can rebrand living with less as a cool trend for the kids…

But in a system where every personal sacrifice turns up on some corporate balance sheet, where the workers living in trucks—celebrated and not—create the profits that buy vacation homes, it’s impossible to separate innovation and exploitation. When we talk about where good millennials should live, we’re ignoring more important questions about who owns land, how much, and why.

Read more http://fusion.net/story/236635/millennials-housing-crisis-tiny-homes/


Elaine Walker