Museum of Science and Industry


How much space do you need? Despite being low on the population density list, Americans tend to take up a lot of space. In fact, the Sierra Club reports that an American's average "ecological footprint"—the space it takes to produce the resources he or she uses—is four times the world's average. Some people are trying to combat this by living small. Really small.

For two weeks ending today, the Smart Home has had a new neighbor: the Tiny House. Created by students and recent alumni at Northwestern University's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, the house boasts a teeny-tiny living space (only 128 square feet!) that has all the needed amenities for a functional home. From two different sets of rooftop solar panels to a composting toilet, this thing has everything you might need... with the exception of breathing room!

This is just one of many in a "small-time living" movement that has been gaining momentum. Instead of making a large carbon footprint, houses in this genre, like Amsterdam's new steel shipping container apartments, use green materials, resources, and methods to make tiny living a good option for the environment.

So what do you think? Could you live in a house smaller than your current living room? Or do you prefer your wide-open spaces?

Photo: JB Spector/Museum of Science and Industry

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  • Readers' Comments (1)
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Rebekah
on 
July 13, 2012

Seems like an economical way to live alone. I want to live in a tiny house like the one in the picture! Does it have a basement? It needs to have a place to take shelter in case of bad weather. Making it taller wouldn't add to the ground space used, so why not add another floor? Would a staircase take up too much floor space to be practical? I can picture a housing development filled with these little homes. I think that the yards would have to be smaller as well.

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