Friday, April 8, 2011
Cheapest Places To Live: Housing
There is a concept or idea that falls under the umbrella of cheapest places to live that we have never before discussed on this blog and that is the idea of creating a space to live in that is both cheap and livable provided a person can let go of some of the preconceived notions that have been cemented into the brains of the American people and in turn the brains of many of the worlds developed countries.
I am referring to housing that is non-conventional with objectives that include keeping costs down. Housing that makes as its priority to be both cheap and responsible. Cheap to make, operate and as well responsible to the environment. There are several methods that over time have been developed that you may find useful and interesting as you begin to pursue ways to live cheap in the world or even to look for the best retirement community, that is if you are looking for a place to retire.
One method is to convert shipping containers into living spaces. There are people that have simply used a shipping container as a shell to define the exterior walls of their home and gone on to make some of the most unexpected interiors that are both fiscally responsible and also amazingly beautiful. Others have combined several containers to make a larger space and mask them in such a way that one would hardly know the skeleton of the structure was once a box for shipping goods around the world.
How well these containers are masked in the construction is often by definition the determining factor in being able to describe them as a cheap place to live. Anything can be transformed if there is no limit on the budget but it is the pioneers who don’t add significantly to the cost as they transform the use of these shipping boxes that were once for moving things that define them as cheap places to live. It will be interesting to see if their use as housing units becomes popular. One factor that will most likely contribute to their acceptance is how well these artists are able to create a space that people want to live in.
Another new cheapest place to live method is being created in the ‘tiny house’ movement that works to remove the limit on how small a livable house can be. Making the space smaller dramatically reduces the cost. Of course there are still some core costs that make the price per foot go up in a tiny house but the overall cost is dramatically reduced. A tiny house definition is open to debate but some are comfortably living in spaces as small as 100 square feet.
Sometimes these homes are rooms in a building, which is basically a tiny studio apartment. Other times these tiny homes are built on trailers to get around building codes as they are often not acceptable as homes by the local code writers. Many of the design elements are taken from what has traditionally been referred to as cabins where utility is maximized and every square inch has been made useful as much as possible. There is a third cheapest place to live method that has gained traction over the last few decades and that is the use of recycled material like tires, can, bottles and even ground up newspaper to build with.
Sometimes these are in combination with other conservation methods like solar, passive heat, underground construction as well as others to maximize cost savings. All these ideas and methods have their believers and evangelists, as well as those that view them as a lunatic fringe of society that will never be acceptable. The good news is whether you adhere to their ways of thinking and living or not, there are some amazing new and now proven building methods and products coming out of the quest for cheapest places to live and being that is more in harmony with our world and our wallets.