The current solution to a housing crisis â€“ as far as cities from Sydney to Hong Kong are concerned â€“ is a wealth of soulless skyscrapers packed with box-sized apartments at a premium price. One Texan entrepreneur has an antidote.
Austin-based start-up Kasita was founded by environmental science professor Dr Jeff Wilson, following the year he spent living in a spruced, solar-powered dumpster as part of an experiment. Now his digs are decidedly more impressive: Kasita has created stackable and completely mobile living spaces of a modest 32.7 square metres.
Re-imagining the home as a functional space, the Kasita prototypes are self-dubbed â€˜the iPhone for housingâ€™ and considering each home can be controlled completely via smartphone app, itâ€™s not far from the truth. With a connected app, residents can monitor the temperature, lighting, integrated sound system, as well as transparency of the glass walls of one corner for privacy. Thereâ€™s also an energy recovery ventilation system, and water and energy is perfectly trackable for maximum efficiency. The kicker though? It can be popped on an 18-wheeler and moved to wherever your heart (and your permit) desires. The team at Kasita has even conceived of kind-of carparks where your Kasita can live for a few months, then slot into another carpark somewhere else, making for super-modern mobility.
â€œThe problem with tiny houses is the coding, the permitting and the land,â€ Jeff says of the project. â€œAnd the landâ€™s the most difficult issue to solve because the folks who usually have the land are not the folks whoÂ need affordable housing. So, our model allows the folks that have the land to highly monetise that land, while providing home ownership to someone.â€
Pointing out that the housing model hasnâ€™t had much of an update since 1884, when the first US skyscraper was built, Kasita aims to reimagine the urban landscape and allow more affordable and adaptable housing opportunities. Price is a big consideration, with models beginning at US$139,000. Kasita models are currently only available in the US.