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What kind of values might a person associate with in order to be interested in living in a tiny home?

Environmentalism is one of the more commonly cited ones, but we don't think that would necessarily the primary motivator. I've read articles about new families choosing to sell their home, move into something much smaller or an rv, in order to work less and spend more time with the kids. With the economy in a downturn, this may become more mainstream/ common. Is there a shift in values taking place?

User Profile:

  • Gender: Both
  • Age: 21- 65
  • Race: Any
  • Ethnicity: Any
  • Size: Any- product may appeal less to larger users (90th%ile of height)
  • Languages spoken: Any (Focused in North American Market- many users understand English)
  • Languages read: Any (Might not read English)
  • Weight: Related to structural integrity and how big doors/ windows can be made
  • Strength: Capable of climbing a ladder, attaching and detaching a trailer, man-handling a trailer around
  • Potential disabilities: Carpal tunnel, limb weakness, osteoporosis, mental disabilities,
  • Motivation: High- users are often part of the DIY community, or may be travelers looking for a place of their own. Either see a major need, or it's a hobby interest.
  • Cognitive abilities and disabilities: wide variety- possibility of mental disabilities, drug addiction or on the other end of the spectrum- possibility of DIY user who builds it themseves (intelligent, motivated, no disabilities)
  • Knowledge and experience: highly motivated to learn about the tasks involved (eg building the product themselves), probably have some knowledge but may have little experience building a house
  • Experience with similar products: May have some, but can assume none. Peer networking is common and helpful.
  • Education: None can be assumed
  • Physical skills: Some knowledge or experience is likely- or reccomendation of workshops..



is a student at UBC studying biology. He is 21, in his second year. During the summer, he works in research. He has a girlfriend who sometimes stays over, but has a place of her own. He is being supported by his parents, who are concerned about the costs of housing dragging on their budget for Brad's education. He wants a place of his own, but recognizes that housing costs are high and has had trouble getting into residence. His parents are funding a large portion of his education, while the rest is coming from his savings and summer work (when he stays at home to save on rent.) He is worried about having to take out a student loan in 4th year.

Brad loves music and is familiar with current artists of many different genres. Brad doesn’t own a car, but has the means to attain one through his parents or the zipcar service he subscribes to. He uses public transit mostly. He enjoys cycling and rock climbing.

Stacy and Tom

are young professionals, working in marketing with degrees in communications and business, respectively. They are both considered "early adopters" and have few long-term monetary commitments, and so have a large disposable income between them. They have been renting a high-end apartment downtown for 2 years together, but Tom is beginning to add up how much it has been costing them. He thinks that they should invest in property, rather than spending on rent. Stacy is a hobby gardener, because it helps her to relieve job stress. She would like space for her own garden. They are interested in a solution that will fit both their needs.


is the CEO of a large trading company. He has a family at home, but travels regularly to oversee business to a few specific cities around the country. He is interested in being more comfortable and feeling at home in each of these locations. He would also like to bring his wife with him sometimes.


has just graduated high school. He would like to go traveling- staying in a few different places for the duration of a few months each. He could either rent out tiny homes, or build one to travel in.


is 75 years old, a retired teacher with a family and hobbies. Her daughter Jessica wants her close by, because she is concerned about her mother's well being. They would like to buy her a house nearby, but the cost of doing so is outside their budget. Anita is very independent, and wants to have her own space.

To do

  • Retired couples who want to downsize.
  • Parents who are interested in building their college kids a tiny home rather than paying 4 years of residence rent.

Usage scenarios

Community Support

Here we fill a specific need in the community by creating a small space

  • bike/community kitchen
  • craftshop
  • co-operative (food, daycare)
  • artist studio


of a residential home:

  • Granny/Anita/Student Suite

The individual(s) in the laneway house are somewhat associated with the host family. Perhaps they are family friends and the tiny house residents are students from out of town. There is some interaction between the two parties, and potentially lots of shared space and resource. Things like meals might be shared, potentially to the point where a full kitchen in the tiny house is not necessary.

  • Unrelated residents

Separate lives, separate lifestyles. Focusing on increasing density in urban areas.

of a business:

  • Owner/proprietor of the business
  • Shopkeeper/Baker/Technician lives very close to their place of work. The tiny house is for personal life while the store is more public. A good way to differentiate the spaces of one's life.
  • Temporary workers

A space used by transient/seasonal workers. Easier to lock up a small house than to reduce the use of a large one? Again this allows easy access to a place of work, and would be beneficial to early or multi-shift location-based work.

Community of small houses

  • Along a back alley (aka. laneway)

There are multiple tiny houses opening up onto a single laneway. They share responsibility for looking after the lane. Shared lifestyles might be appropriate, and there could perhaps be communal cooking or other activities. This communal space could build on the ideas we were discussing about how to break down the barrier between 'indoors' and 'outdoors'... elders sitting on the porch (in the greenhouse) watching children play games up and down the ally anyone?

  • All together now

Pack the tiny houses in like sardines in a tin. Perhaps they are even built as a set of tiny apartments. This might help reduce heating costs and building materials. Built for density. Could we make stackable tiny houses?


For example

MyhomeYourhome User Profiles and Personas

For a small home.