10. migratory neighborhood: temporary and movable settlements for tiny houses in cities

migratory neighborhood

“I was always fascinated by tiny houses but, at the same time, I was very skeptical about their usage. If you look at the typical american tiny house you would recognize that it has windows of all sides. This helps for sure to have a better feeling inside: the house seems bigger. But this means that you will always live as an independent unit, detached from the community. I wanted to live in cities and experience the challenge to mix different cultures, different habits, different houses. And so I though, why not bringing tiny houses in the city? But we need a new typology, an urban tiny house typology. This is why my aVOID tiny house doesn’t have any windows on the longer sides: it is a row house. It doesn’t make any sense if there is no neighbor living next to you. I am developing this ideas at the Tinyhouse University in Berlin. We are a diverse team which believes that we can still densify our city centers. How? With skyscreapers? No, with movable tiny houses. My next step after the Bauhaus Campus is to open with them a urban settlement that I will call “migratory neighborhood”. Migratory because the houses like birds can migrate from a location to another always going to occupy the spaces which are not used by the city in that specific moment. Birds move for food and better climate conditions. Tiny houses change their location depending on the unused spaces inside the existing urban structure. Imagine a garden during the coldest winter time or a public school parking lot during the summer break. It is a liquid solution, the tiny settlement can adjust itself depending by the contenitor. And neighbourhood because it is fully part of the city, it is just tiny and movable. A deeply rooted settlement in the existing urban community which takes advantage of the complex infrastructure the municipality already provides to its residents. What does the city get in return? Life in places which are forgot, creativity, new ideas, diversity and openness to foreign cultures. Next year I will be back with my house to Italy where I want to open the very first migratory neighborhood in the city center of Milan. It is such an amazing city. I have to talk to politician but I already know where it could be settled. It is an empty space at the end of a railway track not too far from the Duomo. Who wants to move in?” – Leonardo Di Chiara

Do you like this idea? Your feedback is very important. I am collecting requests from tiny housers or potential ones to have numbers to support this concept. I will go to talk to politicians to try this experiment in January 2018! Please write me to avoid@leonardodichiara.it or to the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/migratoryneighborhood/.

 

What could be the future of the American “tiny house” typology in Europe? Could it solve the emergencies of a metropolis like overpopulation or apartment shortage? How we could shape an urban neighborhood on wheels? What benefits could emerge from such a living system for the nomadic inhabitants and for the city itself?

 

aVOID tiny house as part of a row-housing stystem. (Sketch by Leonardo Di Chiara)
aVOID tiny house as part of a row-housing stystem. (Sketch by Leonardo Di Chiara)

 

These are the questions that the aVOID project, as part of a broader research conducted by the Tinyhouse University, aims at answering. aVOID, looking at its terraced house configuration, contains an answer to these questions in its own shape. The possibility of assembling several tiny houses in a row represents a first effort towards a more rational urban development within the city. The “on-wheels” feature and the tininess dimension of the houses allows the creation of a new living system: “Migratory Neighborhood”. Temporary settlements where houses, like birds, can easily migrate from a location to another.

In agreement with municipalities, this process could be applied to the neglected spaces inside cities or depending, for its temporary location, on the seasonal occupancy of empty areas. For example imagine what could develop inside a garden during winter time or in a school parking lot during the summer break. In this way migratory neighborhoods could also become a valid tool to promote regeneration and vitality in our urban environment.

Bauhaus Campus represents the first attempt to test tiny houses in the urban scene. Here a view of the temporary neighborhood from aVOID’s rooftop. (Berlin, august 2017) © Leonardo Di Chiara
Bauhaus Campus represents the first attempt to test tiny houses in the urban scene. Here a view of the temporary neighborhood from aVOID’s rooftop. (Berlin, august 2017) © Leonardo Di Chiara

Be careful, “migratory neighborhood” is model not a the name of a singular artistic project or a research experiment. It aims at creating a repeatable structure for temporary and movable urban settlements of tiny houses. A network of migratory neighborhoods  opened with similar methodology in different cities, potentially all over the world. How all these neighborhood can be connected? How can tiny housers benefit from this network? Easy: with technology.

Parking lots of hotel on the seaside during the winter time (Pesaro, Italy)
A park in Berlin during the winter time is completely unused. The fountain stops working.
A brownfield in Berlin just next to Hauptbahnhof (Main Station).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagine if we would create an app (yardsurfing?, spacesurfing?) which can show to users all the free spots available where they could move in with their tiny house. It is like a platform with can connect the owners of empty spaces with the people which are looking for the best location inside a city center to put their mobile home. The municipalities can constantly upload the current location of their migratory neighborhoods with info about the space, the residents and the conditions. Also private owners can decide to offer their backyard or plots to host tiny housers.

Leonardo Di Chiara checking his new destination on “migratory neighborhood” app! (Copyright Anna Fontanet Castillo)

Do you like this idea? Your feedback is very important. I am collecting requests from tiny housers or potential ones to have numbers to support this concept. I will go to talk to politicians to try this experiment in January 2018! Please write me to avoid@leonardodichiara.it or to the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/migratoryneighborhood/.

“Tiny is beautiful, tiny is possible!” – Leonardo Di Chiara

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