tv The Stream Al Jazeera November 25, 2013 3:30am-4:01am EST
some years when the temperature is right divers can witness hundreds of thousands of eggs fertilised before their eyes. coral, a diverse specie with more than 400 different varieties. so much more news online. don't forget to go there 24/7. aljazeera.com. american dream. >> from mcmansion to tiny houses is a growing movement here in the u.s. where people are trading in big to live small. one, the tiny house movement has hundreds of members, and one
community said it's a very charmer concept and they learn more about it, and the reality starts to sink in. >> this is not a new phenomenon. this is a 1920s house on wheels. and check this out, this is a washington d.c. 140-foot square-foot house. and looking cheesy there, but our community says: >> >> well, you have a lot of truck? >> but where's the bathroom? >> we're going to find out. since 1970, the average house size has doubled remains but for some, bigger is not better. >> i guess that the aspect of a
small house is freedom. the world gets a lot bigger when you're living small because i can afford to do a lot more things in terms of cash and time. the whole world is now my living room. >> the living small movement doesn't stop at tiny houses. microapartments are popping up in many areas from seattle to new york city. but concerns over zoning. downsizing, is the american dream changing with the idea that less is more? or is bigger better? joining me, elise, an author and organizer, and she became quite famous after a video of her living in her 90 square foot new york apartment went viral. and derek diedrickson. he hosts tiny yellow house on
youtube, and he's the author of humble homes and shacks. and he teaches for the tumble weeds tiny house company. and david saxman, why some are not happy about it. but i want to note, if this is your first time watching u. we do things differently here to get diverse on the program. we use a variety of technologies, including skype, and it's not always technologically perfect, but it allows us to reach a lot of people. so elise, what made your decision to go small? >> it wasn't going small, but i didn't want to go broke. i have lived in new york for ten years, and i came to new york to be a writer and i wanted to frida trymanhattan. when i walked in, i was shocked. but it was 90 square feet. and the woman who lived there
had stuff everywhere, but i signed up for one year, and something happened in that one year. i got rid of a lot of my belongings because i had to fit in that apartment. a lot had to go into storage, and by the end of the year, i got rid of a lot of it. and i realized by living in that small space, you need less to be happy. i lived there, and finished writing the book and i realized that living with less, you get more out of life. i could equipped my job and -- quit my job, and edged write at my own leisure. i had less overhead literally. wanted to do. >> derek, you live in a tiny house with your wife, with two and i said a big dog, and tell me why that didn't crazy. >> my house isn't tiny. it's a third or less than the american average at this point
in time, but i have a lot of people come over and visit me, and oh, my god, how do you live this way? it's so minute constitutional. miniscule. and for me, i share so much money. and basically, when my wife and i were renting in the boston area, and we moved to own our own house, we saved so. and it's one of the reasons we bought a small uer house than we otherwise could have afforded. >> here's a tweet from katherine, mike pro apartments, what are we, mice? reading that tweet made my day. and rosa said, i love everything about tiny houses. quality materials at affordable houses, and the word that keeps coming up is simplicity. another one, that's not a house,
that's not a dorm room. too high a price and no room. and steven, i don't think that i could do 100 square meter but i would lik but -- i'd like to get down to 250. it's ridiculous, living larger, but a lot of our community members, what are the challenges of living in such a small space? what would you say the key challenge is? >> i think that the challenge is staying on top of what you own and all of the stuff that you really need. i would like to stay in my own home, i either wear it or use it. and we all have so much stuff. if you add it up, the cost of everything, it's amazing what we don't use. most of our closets are filled with this clothes that we don't wear, and we see people who don't have as much as we do, and everybody wants to keep buying more, but i think that wanted challenge is knowing what you
want out of life. so the experiences, not all of the stuff, that's where your priority should be, and living in a small space, that's it. >> derek, when you started getting into this, did you find that it was hard to wrap your brain around it, and was it a new way of thinking? >> i grew up in a very modest house, and in a well to do town, certain classmates, for their 16th birthday, they get brand-new mustangs and so on. and i grew up sharing a small house that was dwarfed by my neighbor's houses and friends in high school. and i always felt that it was ludicrous in a way. i never met their parents because they were always working themselves to death, paying for a house that they were never around to set foot in. i never had a problem living modestly, and it carried over to
the boy scouts. >> didn't i hear that you built something. >> i was inspired by one of my idols, lester walker, he wrote a book, tiny tiny houses, and it had insulation, electricity. and we would have sleepovers, and a black-and-white tv to play the original nintendo in there. i was a dork, and i mode a bunch of lawns, and here i am doing the same. >> the video of your place, 5 million hits, and you didn't ever expect that many people, did you? >> no, there was an article from a newspaper from a woman contacting me, and she made the video in about an hour and a half. and i figured i would see it whenever it came up.
and when it went viral, it was really insane, getting emails from people all over the world. and the comments were amazing. they said how much i inspired them to down size and live in small spaces and look at life differently. >> did you ever get anything negative? >> i didn't get anything negative, but i remember reading the comments on youtube. people got upset, i could have a whole house in iowa, and that's great. if i wanted to live in iowa, no problem. but that's the point. for a lot of people who come to cities like new york and boston and san francisco, where they have these initiatives, people come because they're passionate about something and they want to make it in the city. it's about becoming a writer or a dancer and that's the key, whatever your priority is. >> david on facebook says, the most american question ever, does it have wi-fi?
and katherine says: >> oh, i think -- still ahead from coast-to-coast, the tiny house movement is growing. >> this is the kind of money, and if i was a decade or two younger, i would still want this, this is not my consolation prize. this is exactly what i want. >> it might be exactly what many people want. but there are a lot of objections to tinily living. find out why, next. >> every morning from 5 to 9am al jazeera america brings you
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consider it abuse. they may consider it offensive. and in that case they just recommend that you block that person. >> i don't want to minimise this, because i mean, there's some really horrible things that are on line, and it's not - it's not just twitter, what has happened through social media and the anonymity of the net is that you see websites, hate-filled websites targetting all sorts of groups, popping up. there has been a huge number of those that exist as well.
>> i wonder if that shot -- welcome back, and we're talking about living small, and a growing movement across the u.s. where less is more. but not everyone sees the tourney movement as such a big opportunity. dennis, you raised objection to microhouses in your neck of the woods in seattle and why? >> our planning department is mostly about development. and it's not accurately counting
units. they took a rule, which was designed for purposes of enforcement and started using it as a way of improving microhousing. and as a result of that rule, they consider a single dwelling unit to be 7-8 separate useable spaces, with a common kitchen or common area. and so for example, in the building with 56 separately leasable spaces, the dvd says we only have 50 dwelling units, and that leads to a state of design review and protection act review. because the building doesn't have enough units in it to cross the threshold for that. and in seattle, that's the equivalent of waving the red flag in front of a bull. because the neighborhood has no chance to put any input.
the developer gets a permit and puts up the building, and suddenly, in a neighborhood of maybe two or three story buildings, you have five to six to seven story building with 115 units. >> so you're worried about the density too, right? in terms of what that he means to the neighborhood and that many people crammed into that much face? >> not so much the density, but the fundamental dishonest of it. in capitol hill, it's reputed to be the densest neighborhood west of the mississippi, and our opponents like to say we're enemies of density, but we're more proponents of honesty and planning. >> the community
says:, listen to donna. >> i'm in austin, texas, and work with an organization called loaves and fishes. we'll be building a 27-acre community that will house tiny houses. it will be the perfect spaces where our friends, the chronically disabled and homeless will be able to move in and call home. it will be a space that's affordable and sustainable and surrounded by community. >> there's a criticism that the tiny house movement is actually for the privileged and elite. and it will raise up the prices for all of the other housing and justification. what's your response? >> you look in new york and manhattan and there are so many people densely populated and we're just used to that. and i know with mayor
bloomberg's initiative with a lot of small apartments, i thought that was a good idea. and i hope that it stays affordable. like artists, they have to go to the outer borough. but i hope that they keep them so everyone can afford them. >> is it affecting the prices in seattle or is the movement too initia? >> pardon me. >> is it too niche? >> we believe it does. no sign tis scientific studies have been done, but i know a landlord, and they say based on the rents per scoot that the microhouses are getting, they have doubled the rent. you can do that in seattle if
you give 60 days notice. so everybody in those buildings had to move out of. how can you create community essentially when it becomes more valuable per square foot? >> derek, in terms of the microhousing project at large, do you see this becoming a staple of urban areas? >> no, i think that the case in seattle, and i'll moment i don't know a lot b. but it does seem indicative of the scene ra as whole. >> how do you get the flavor of that? >> the fabric of people who want to kind of get away from things, or they're afraid of having a little space in the woods somewhere, out of the way, and i won't call it a commune, but a community of tiny houses, but there are people again, there are people who like that
cultural attraction to the city. i know i was looking earlier today on dennis' site. and like i said, i'm obviously for smaller spaces, affordable housing, and i can see his concerns. i can't speak on behalf of seattle. but i noticed in his picture, his blog, i think wha what would be the most important, with development, it stuck out with a sore thumb. i'm not speaking against any structures here, but it's a bad move on the part of developers. essentially, a lot of people are trying to jump onboard, and trying to make a buck off of it. and unfortunately, some of these developers seem to be in it for that. they are businesses, i understand. >> i think that the real question is as to whether the motive behind this is affordability.
for example, jim potter, who is the prime mover behind many of the microhow doing developments in seattle, said in an article in business journal that you know, amazon and google rent all of these hotels, people that they bring to the city, and he said i would like a small piece of that business, and he's talking about some of the big companies in town, amazon and google. and expanding in the region. so you know, there's a big problem with credibility here. the developers say that we're all about credibility and affordable. and not really. the apartments are only affordable for 12 years, under the law. >> dennis, our community is concerned about affordability:
>> i'm into tiny house.com. and those needs are very different. for us, it was a need for durable temporary housing. we had a mortgage-free dream. and we wanted to build a mortgage-free tiny home instead. and our tiny house is the first step in realizing that dream. we have lived here for 2 and a half years, and counting, and we're currently building our bigger mortgage free home. >> a lot of people are happy with with it, so if you want to move into a microhouse, what are some of the tricks of the trade living small? >> right now, we're sitting in our living room/dining room/entertaining room. >> slash office. >> and we have a multi-work space here. the table is glass, and you can
>> by 1960, 30,000 people will live in bloomfield heights, colorado. >> welcome back, for past generations, a big house with a white picket fence was the american dream. but is that changing? if living smaller is the way forward, how can we learn to live in sustainable communities? >> that's a good question. i thought that the show was only half han hour long. the question assumes that small housing builds sustainable communities. and i don't think that it really does, but i think that to build communities, people need to have a sense of place and stability in their lives.
and they need to be aware of their history and personal history. >> so connection. >> for example, i've always lived in affordable housing and i've never had a lot of money, and i believe in simple values, but i have a lot of family heirlooms from my family. and it meant a lot to me to understand where i came from, and how i developed and where i'm going. and sometimes i think that simple living, and small living rules that out. it's like almost for people without history. it's like we're all becoming gypsies. >> i want to ask lisa and derek about that, but i want to ask our community, if they lived in a small space, could they live? >> i need a bathroom, and i need wi-fi, and i need a laptop with wi-fi in my bathroom. how about you? >> you would be happy in a box.
>> my husband, my dog, my cat and my vita mix. >> you could pull it off. but first, we have this question: and apparently the american way, lisa, is 950 square feet. >> so respond to what dennis was just saying. that apparently, the smaller living, and the microliving, people have become disconnected from their history. because they don't have a the sentimental things around them to remind them of where they came in. >> i don't totally agree with that.
i moved into that small place so i could finish my first book. my grandfather was a holocaust survive and that's my history. and sometimes we put too much value on things, and memories, but there are so many things when you look around your home that people have connections to. my mother gave me this mug, and i don't want to let go. and they have a lot of things that they don't want to let go. memories are inside of you, and you have to pair down, you can't save everything. >> what do you tell people to get them to break that sentimental connection to those things to reduce clutter? >> i try to get them to keep the most important things. if you don't want to get rid of it, get rid of something else if you have the space, but there's a difference between less and no clutter. you can live in a large house with no clutter and that's the goal for some.
i think that clutter is not good. >> asking you a question, you're a professional organize, and can you give us the top three steps to downsizing? >> yeah, sure. one, really ask yourself. instead of saying, what can i get rid of, what do you really love? if you don't really love something, chances are you're not going to wear it or use it, and think of the people who can benefit and use it. we just had a huge storm, share your stuff. and especially when you're in the city, go up, go vertical. shelves are a good way to keep stuff in. and also, when people are overwhelmed starting the process, start small. start with your sock drawer. people laugh, but it's an easy way. .
welcome to al jazeera america, i'm stephanie sy, here are the top stories we are following at this hour: mixed reaction around the world to the nuclear deal with iran. [ singing ] >> hundreds of iranians welcome their foreign minister at tehran airport calling him the ambassador of peace. israel and u.s. lawmakers say iran cannot be trusted. a security agreement between the u.s. and afghanistan that would keep american troops in the country past 2014 are in doubt. a group of tribe all leaders agreed it. hamid karzai refused to sign it. >> the weather i