No matter at what scale you examine the impacts of Climate Change, the people with the least resources are impacted the most while contributing the least to the problems involved. It’s not hard to understand this dynamic. The more impoverished a person is, the more likely it will be that they live in a place with environmental challenges. Yet this aspect of ‘eco-friendliness,’ and sustainability often goes unaddressed by even the most conscientious of efforts to mitigate negative environmental impacts.
Both of these great endeavors incorporate green and sustainable building practices, literal small footprints, and community building. Unlike most ‘green’ building projects, they also address inequities as they apply to sustainability.
Facing Homelessness’ BLOCK Project takes a highly creative approach to addressing the issue of houseless people. Not only do they design and build astonishingly clean and comfortable tiny homes using environmentally friendly materials and techniques, they locate these homes in the backyards of generous neighborhood residents. And they proactively seek the input of the entire neighborhood in doing so.
The actual small footprint of these homes automatically make their carbon footprint low. But it doesn’t stop there. If scaled up to a more ‘normal’ square footage, these homes would still maintain a small carbon footprint. And, on top of that, the project provides homes with all the amenities needed to help break a people out of the vicious cycle that, otherwise, keeps the houseless in their predicament.
Mighty Energy Solutions and Ducoterra are proud to have provided the infrared radiant heating systems for these wonderful tiny homes. And Mighty House Construction is also proud to sponsor this entry into the Green Home Tour. It is an honor to take a small part in this notable approach to the pernicious cycle of homelessness experienced by more and more people.
BIPOC Sustainable Tiny Art House Community (BIPOC STAHC) is taking a similar approach to a slightly different challenge. Seattle is losing artists in droves as housing becomes more expensive. And making art often requires spaces, equipment, and amenities that are also becoming less and less affordable. Most artists already face financial challenges by virtue of the difficult realities of art economics. This situation is made even more untenable when compounded by the social inequities experienced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC.)
Some artists move into vulnerable neighborhoods – partly for the lower costs – and apply their creativity to the betterment of their community. But this tends to lead to gentrification as these neighborhoods get noticed for this creativity and ‘hipness.’ This is a disaster for the existing residents and, very often, the artists themselves as more privileged people move in and drive up property values up – along with the cost to live there.
So, in order to overcome this conundrum, BIPOC STAHC is working to build a non-gentrifiable community of tiny, eco-friendly homes in a healthy setting with access to a larger, shared set of amenity spaces. This will improve the living conditions, affordability, and provide the opportunity to build wealth for disenfranchised artists of, so far, low privilege. Going from renting a tiny, unaffordable apartment in a dirty, industrial part of town to owning an, albeit small, but clean and healthy home in a community of creative people is certainly a move in a better direction for everyone involved. And, since any city planner will tell you, diversity and the arts are significant factors in the health of a city, this project will be a boon to the city and the region as a whole.
We sincerely hope these types of solutions gain traction as we move into a cleaner, more sustainable way of life.