Published on November 25th, 2020 |
by Johnna Crider
November 25th, 2020 by Johnna Crider
IKEA and Vox Creative are teaming up with Curbed to create a space that is sustainable, affordable, and stylish that would fit in around 187 square feet. This would prove that anyone, anywhere could live a more sustainable life. Vox Media is providing its brand studio, Vox Creative, and the fully integrated campaign launched across Curbed will generate awareness of the tiny home. This will help shed light on the larger impact that small, daily decisions will have that result in a more sustainable world.
IKEA’s media agency, Wavemaker, was involved with the partnership and outfitted the home with a variety of IKEA furnishings and gadgets that help people to live more sustainably on any budget. IKEA’s campaign builds upon its Why We Make campaign that was created in partnership with Oglivy to focus on driving awareness of IKEA’s commitments to sustainability, inclusivity, and innovation. By partnering with Vox Creative’s Explainer Studio, IKEA is able to create a behind-the-scenes video that shows the making of the tiny-home. Experts and influencers were featured in this as well
The Tiny Home
The tiny house was built back in March and was in the process of taking a nationwide tour across the US. Stops at sustainability-focused events were planned, but like many plans, these fell through due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the brands took the tour online by pivoting to a fully digital campaign while still being able to meet its goals of enabling its audience to understand and hopefully adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.
The image below is the floorplan of the new tiny home. The largest space is the sleeping area, followed by the living, kitchen, and bath areas. You can take the virtual tour here. The goal while creating this tiny home was to show how the small choices made at home can have a major impact on the world around us. In its blog post sharing how the tiny house came to be Curbed noted that they worked with members of IKEA design team, IKEA’s sustainability managers and tiny home building experts to help bring their vision to life.
The Importance Of The Tiny House Movement
The tiny house movement is a blend of an architectural and social movement that encourages living a simple life in a smaller space. When I was working to help raise homelessness awareness back in the early 2000s, I’d first come across this movement when learning about a nonprofit that built tiny houses for people experiencing homelessness. I was living in Atlanta during this time and working to help raise awareness about a situation that often happened in my own life — I was so focused on this that I started a nonprofit with several friends.
Our nonprofit eventually failed when I moved away — but it was a learning experience and we actually did a lot of great work in raising awareness about homelessness, which included education and debunking the stereotype of a homeless American. The nonprofit that was deploying tiny homes to help people on the street is called Mad Housers, and they are based in Atlanta.
One of the common problems with using tiny houses to help solve the problem of homelessness was the fact that many homeless people did not have their own land for these homes to be built on — and there’s the red tape as well. Owning an actual house required taxes and the average person living on the streets is barely able to make money to eat — much less save it to pay taxes. These obstacles are just that — not permanent blocks but ones that can be overcome easily.
Tiny House Villages For Homeless Residents in the U.S.
Curbed, the same organization Vox Creative and IKEA are partnering with, presented a case study of 10 tiny house villages for homeless residents in the US. The case study, which was published back in 2016 yet updated with the most recent information on an ongoing basis, explored how tiny houses can embrace the strategy of “Housing First,” which is the idea that addressing homelessness starts with giving people a safe place to live. Dallas, Detroit, and Portland already had microhome communities for the low-income or homeless, and new proposals emerge in towns and cities quite often. The 10 villages that are featured in the case study are:
- CASS Community Tiny Homes; Detroit MI.
- A Tiny Home for Good; Syracuse NY.
- Infinity Village; Nashville, TN
- Othello Village; Seattle, WA.
- My Tiny House Project LA; Los Angeles, CA.
- Second Wind Cottages; Newfield, NY.
- The Cottages at Hickory Crossing; Dallas, TX.
- Community First! Village; Austin, TX.
- Quixote Communities; Olympia, WA.
- Dignity Village; Portland, OR.
The village in Austin is the costliest so far. Some of the villages had ongoing fundraising status. In Austin, Mobile Loves & Fishes is the charity sponsoring the village, which is a 27-acre master-planned village of tiny homes for the disabled, chronically homeless and has 120 micro homes, 100 RVs, and 20 tent homes that have a concrete foundation. The village has a medical facility and outdoor movie theater, and the rent ranges from $200–350. The total cost of $14.5 million was privately funded and each structure is privately sponsored. Community First was also awarded a top prize in Engineering News Record’s residential and hospitality category.
A few days ago, a tiny house village was announced by Mayor Lyda Krewson of St. Louis, MO. There will be a total of 50 tiny homes that will shelter some of the city’s homeless population as soon as next month. “Tiny houses are a lot safer, more secure and comfortable than living in a tent,” Mayor Krewson said during a news conference. She pointed out that these new tiny homes will create a “stronger foundation” for homeless people to rebuild their lives.
Mayor Krewson pointed out that homeless people are even more at risk of catching Covid-19 if they are on the streets, so this will help prevent the spread of the disease. “Folks are much more vulnerable to COVID if they’re living on the street if they are living in a group setting,” she said while adding. “So this is assistance to prevent COVID transmission.”
Homelessness Is An Environmental Issue
In 2018, the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) adopted a new policy to help respond to the issues of environmental and sheltering the homeless. ECOS is a coalition that focuses on community sustainability while creating a healthy environment for its residents. By addressing homelessness as an environmental issue, the coalition would redirect the focus of this plight as the greatest unmitigated current challenge to the mission of its Habitat Conservation committee, Habitat 2020. “Human suffering, public health, and sanitation risks, and environmental degradation have become intolerable,” the statement noted.
One of the policies adopted stated that “bold measures and unprecedented regional cooperation are required to pull our communities out of a shelter crisis that threatens the health of our environment, public safety, and local sustainability.”
EcoBear shared an article about the impact of homeless encampments on the environment. Many of the negative impacts encampments have on the environment include trash, human waste, biohazardous materials such as blood and vomit, needles from drug usage, fires, unclean water, damage to wilderness areas and parks, and abusive camping practices. There is no one solution for the tragic problem of homelessness, but having been in that situation plenty of times in my life, my priority was securing a safe place. Somewhere that I can bathe, get my thoughts together without having to look over my shoulder or fear of being robbed in my sleep — a place where I can focus on not survival until tomorrow, but rebuilding my life.
Many do not have the luxury of even planning the rebuilding of their lives — to them, that is simply impossible. Tiny houses, I believe, are a step in the right direction. I would love to see IKEA and Vox and Curbed take a more laser focus on this issue and encourage others in their spheres to do so.
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