Thursday, March 16, 2006

Katrina (and other) cottage links

Mar 20 update: "What's wrong with flash" clarified below.

I am besotted.

SP Times' The house that Katrina built ("14 by 22 feet plus an 8-foot-deep porch with bench seating...same size and price as a temporary FEMA trailer...")
(a few more photos)

SF Chron's The little house that roared:
A tiny cottage designed for Katrina survivors offers the Bay Area a few clues about disaster relief and affordable housing
...308-square-foot ... various models of the Katrina Cottage could serve as a "Grow House" that would over time be expanded to a bigger house
"Decent housing" in FHA and VA jargon is defined purely on the basis of room sizes and other similar measures. Depending on how many doors you put and where you put them, Katrina Cottage I violates most of the "decent housing" rules currently in place. But ask yourself: What's indecent about the Katrina Cottages? Currently, if we follow "decent housing" law, we have to be bigger, even if that means being stupid.

What if small were fashionable?
What if small were to become fashionable? What if we were to decide, as a community, that quality mattered more than quantity? What if we had to move into spaces half the size we now occupy? Besides solving not a few local housing problems, how liberating would that be?'d only take a few minutes to clean, leaving the rest of a Saturday for living.
what really attracts is the idea that one could actually change the thrust of one's life -- from working to accumulate and support things to actually living.

Many wealthy people are little more than janitors of their possessions.
-- Frank Lloyd Wright *

The Katrina Cottage designer's website, Cusato Cottages - sadly, it's pure Flash.*

Garage conversions into accessory dwelling units actively encouraged in Santa Cruz (also covered here; Santa Cruz docs on it here):
By rezoning detached garages into dwelling units, and then offering small loans for the construction and/or renovation of these tiny houses... the city hopes to take advantage of its own unused margins and backlots.
..."a low-cost way to accommodate surging population growth without increasing sprawl." prototype designs**, small units that are easy to assemble - pre-fabricated garage-homes...
the sheer quantity of unused space in American cities is astonishing

On teardowns, obese houses, and diversityof house sizes in a community:
Variegated texture has given way to homogeneity. It feels as if the town I knew was lost and replaced by a different one... I'd bet anything that whoever replaced my childhood home believed he was building "higher and better."

katrina housing pdf - designs from a charette - are available via ftp at

Housing other refugees - Nevada City homebuilder Greg Zaller's tin and strawbale houses are constructed in earthquake-ravaged Pakistan.

For the curious reader, some links explaining why flash is evil

It's a very odd thing that people still think you want an "experience" when you go to their web site, when what you want is content, fast. Not form, slowly and unusably. Or maybe it's due to some ultra-powerful Flash-programmer union in the entertainment industry.
... the first time I visited...I didn't notice...links for news, videos, etc., due to the non-standard layout. I hate having to guess what some designer's clever idea for hiding the data was!
The thing is, in my experience, that the bands like stupid (I mean multimedia-rich) websites. They like opaque navigation systems, they like websites that make music come out of your speakers unbidden, they like *pointless* animations. The same applies to many 'creatives' that I speak to.

Poynter isn't a blog and there's mindless bandwidth hogging Flash crap on the front page.
Does "ethics" include "accessibility", or is low-bandwidth and visual handicap outside of ethics?*

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