Monday, February 22, 2016

Tiny homes in... Dallas!?!

It's official, tiny homes are everywhere. In the land of everything BIGGER is BETTER the tiny home movement has been growing slowly. Here in Austin, tiny homes and converted RVs for rental units are numerous and wide spread, but the City of Dallas has been slow to adopt and "grow" this type of small urban form. 

Not any more, now a BIG home builder has jumped in the tiny home fray and believes he can commoditize a movement that has largely been focused on the DIYers. Though I'm not certain we want to see 500+ tiny home subdivisions in the near future, it certainly isn't the end of the world if a few of us downsize, or right size our living arrangements. 

And remember, tiny homes are nothing new. Calcasieu Lumber Company's "kit cottages" were common throughout Austin in the 1920's and onward. West Campus, East Austin and Hyde Park have numerous examples still used as small rental and even home ownership units.  Let's all hope that the new and the old can continue to provide abodes for singles and families for years to come. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Next Big Thing in Design

News that the design firm IDEO has joined the kyu collective is big news in a lot of ways. IDEO has been a touchstone agency over the past 30 years designing and improving some of the more influential products in our global economy. From computers, bikes, robots, medical devices, you name it IDEO has used the concepts of design to improve products for years. 

In the past several years they have shifted focus gradually, applying their design process and knowledge to systems likes schools, public feedback and organizational development. The decision to join the kyu collective is big for a few reasons. 

The kyu collective is group of agencies that have a broad set of skills and focus. Although each will continue to work independently on their core capacities, the collective effort will allow them to build new strategies that each of them may have a passion for but not enough internal expertise to make a real impact. Tim Brown, CEO for IDEO put all of these thoughts and concepts into great clarity in a piece published on Medium yesterday. 

So why am I posting about it here, other then the fact I'm an obvious fan of IDEO? Well, I believe that collaboration is the key to building better communities and housing solutions. Tim Brown touched on that in his piece, and I'll be watching carefully for updates and news in the future. 

Here in Texas a much smaller scale collaboration resulted in the development of the Rapido housing program based out of the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville. Using design expertise from BC Workshop, community feed back and consumer input has created a small and potentially very impact full housing program here in Texas. 

I'll say it again, I'm really looking forward to the creations that IDEO and the kyu collective come up with in the near future. I hope we'll all learn something to apply to our programs, too.