Help us raise $20,000 to celebrate 20 years. For a limited time, your donation is matched!Donate

Tiny House Design Floats Affordable Housing Over Parking Spaces

400-square-foot living up in the air.

(Credit: Elevate Structure)

This is your first of three free stories this month. Become a free or sustaining member to read unlimited articles, webinars and ebooks.

Become A Member

The newest proposed hotspot for micro-housing: parking lots.

Elevate Structure, a Hawaiian tiny house company, envisions adding compact and affordable housing in cities around the U.S. — without sacrificing parking. The firm’s pre-fab design props the small dwellings on top of a trunk-like base so they float over the asphalt. Add “tree trimmings,” with exterior walls finished in leafy greens to reduce air pollution and a roof that funnels rainwater into the hidden storage tank in the “trunk,” and you’ve got sustainable architecture in the mix too. (That stored water also helps weigh the little structures down.)

Fast Company notes- that with an estimated two billion parking spots in the United States, many are often empty. “It’s just an incredibly underutilized space,” Nathan Toothman, co-founder of Elevate Structure, told Fast Company. “There are massive, oceans of concrete. In some cities, I think a third of the area is parking lots. We’re trying to bring more usage into that area.”

The base of the houses would be 40 square feet, with rooms at 250-400 square feet.

The startup is raising money to build a demo on Kickstarter.

Like what you’re reading? Get a browser notification whenever we post a new story. You’re signed-up for browser notifications of new stories. No longer want to be notified? Unsubscribe.

Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.

Follow Marielle .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Tags: affordable housingurban designarchitectureparking

Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities

Join 1019 other sustainers such as:

  • Anonymous at $40/Year
  • Dennis at $5/Month
  • Nikki at $10/Month

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Donate $20 or $5/Month

    20th Anniversary Solutions of the Year magazine