Could This Revolutionary Compact Home Solve All the Housing Problems of Young Singles?

Could This Revolutionary Compact Home Solve All the Housing Problems of Young Singles?

Socioeconomics (or social economics) are something that affect us all. Anything that ‘solves’ or ‘conquers’ socioeconomic issues or problems is regarded as good, or even great. Heijmans One Conquers [not one, but] Two Socioeconomical Issues with their Compact Living. This is definitely great.

Heijmans (N.V.) is a major European construction-services business with a Dutch-based headquarters. The company was founded by Jan Heijmans in Rosmalen in 1923 and was first listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange in 1993. The company has divisions in property development, residential housing, non-residential construction, installation techniques, infrastructure and international development. Major projects include the ING House, 2002, the Eastern Scheldt Tunnell, 2003 and “The Blob” in Eindhoven, 2010. However, perhaps their greatest project is known simple as ONE, which is ongoing. Heijmans ONE is marketed as “the moveable home for single home households” and is highly regarded as a project which addresses two socioeconomic issues at once – the shortage of affordable temporary rental houses and the utilization of vacant lots for more productive uses.

Whether you like them or not (but how could you not help but like them?), there has been a noticeable surge in demand for tiny, movable housing. The small/tiny house movement, although first advocated by Henry David Thoreau in the mid-19th century, really only became “popular” in the last 20 years. It advocates living simply in small(er) spaces (usually under 1,000 square feet, although tiny homes are typically under 400 square feet). Perhaps most appealing to the 25-35 year olds, one of the strongest arguments for this type of housing is that these homes provide a roof for a generation that falls between two stools. It addresses young people who may have just graduated from university and started their first career job. This generation “earn too much for social housing, too little for the free rental sector. It is difficult to obtain financing for a house, and it is not always desirable either.”

Heijmans ONE employs deserted sites that are merely wasting space in the outskirts of urban areas, making a positive contribution to the characteristic aspects of these areas, such as attracting new cash flows, social and community binding and identity and safety problems. These derelict sites come to life, where otherwise they exist as fenced off areas where nothing has been happening for years. The housing can be placed within just one day, which means that these temporary structures become very sustainable and re-usable. Their housing has sustainable features, such as solar panels, which are eco-friendly (as is their small size – creating less of an eco-footprint). They are also extremely energy efficient thanks to their solid wooden framing, all-electric use and generation of energy. ONE housing include all the necessary facilities, such as a kitchen, full bathroom, large living room, a separate bedroom and an outside patio. While tiny, they cover all the basics in a very classic yet modern way.

Although focused on the rental market, these homes could possibly (one day) be purchased by anyone looking to downsize, looking for something more affordable, looking for something more eco-friendly. The first two trials will begin in December of 2015, with two homes being placed in Zeeburgereiland, Amsterdam and I, for one, am looking forward to their future success spreading across the ocean. Canada and the United States could benefit from this particular social/housing movement in conjunction with the already growing small/tiny house movement which is gaining momentum with each day.

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