Living Small Gets Big

See it in it’s original context HERE

I’ve been living green without even knowing it. As a student, I’m used to cramped, tiny apartments. But it turns out that living in small is actually significantly reducing my carbon footprint.

“Small living” is a new trend rebelling against the excesses of wasteful space. Since the 1950’s, the average size of homes has ballooned from 983 square feet to 2,349 square feet in 2004. Yet at the same time, the average size of a North American family has shrunk.

The bottom line is that we’re taking up more room than ever before, and for what? I can count at least seven things in my room that I can stand to throw out – and that’s just at first glance. The whole concept of small living is to reduce your material possessions while cutting down on the expensive costs of utilities at the same time.

Last year, the first permanent lane way house in Vancouver, a 710-square foot design, drew around 2,000 visitors to its two day open house. And the home is expected to go for $1,700 a month in most expensive city in Canada to rent.

But is this trend feasible in the rest of Canada? Having four outside walls in the middle of a blizzard doesn’t sound like it would save on heating or help us avoid cabin fever in the winter months.

The trend is, however, looking to the past for answers to the problem of modern-day Hummer homes. Row housing common to the historic streets of Boston or Philadelphia, or 1950s style Levittown homes originally designed for returning World War Two soldiers are making a comeback.

There are a whole range of specialized products that cater to those living small too. Some new cabinets contain a whole kitchen sink, fridge and stove, there are stackable milk containers for the fridge and tables with chairs that fit compactly underneath.

So even though my apartment isn’t expensive, I’m still helping the environment in my own tiny way.

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