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#Tinyhouse community proposed for Christchurch New Zealand
Community Community TinyHouses

A group pushing for a tiny house community in Christchurch says the red zone would be the perfect location. Crown-council agency Regenerate Christchurch has already signalled housing could be part of the future use of the 602 hectare space. Members of the Canterbury Tiny House Society believe their affordable, mobile and compact houses are the perfect fit. Canterbury Tiny House Society committee member Kyle Sutherland says the red zone (eathquake area 2011) would be perfect for the compact houses.
"The land may not be suitable in 20, 30 or 50 years’ time due to sea level rise, climate change or even future potential earthquakes," committee member Kyle Sutherland said. 
Kyle Sutherland and his tiny house New Zealand

"We see our model of housing as perfect for the red zone, because it doesn't require foundations, it's very low impact and it's an affordable option." Sutherland says tiny houses are increasingly attractive as traditional homes become more expensive. The society is developing a proposal to submit to Regenerate Christchurch, which early last month released 10 options for the red zone. Five of these included residential housing as a component, with a feasibility report identifying up to 265ha as suitable for housing. Sutherland said the size of tiny houses, which were generally less than 25sqm, meant little land was required to establish a community.

It would be the first of its kind in New Zealand and provide social, ecological and economic benefits, he said. Sutherland built his 17sqm home, constructed of a timber frame on a purpose-built steel trailer, for $85,000 over the summer of 2015/16. He was attracted to the idea after struggling to find affordable options elsewhere in the city. "Because of how unaffordable housing is in New Zealand, Kiwis are finding ways to get around the crisis and find their own solutions," he said.

"For the cost of a deposit on a house, people can buy or build a tiny house – which enables so much more in terms of living." The house, which also had a 6sqm loft sleeping space, was powered by four solar panels and featured a compost toilet. A stint travelling convinced Sutherland much of what he owned was superfluous, so he willingly embraced a minimalist living style. He acknowledged tiny houses were not for everyone, but said young people and retirees whose children had left home would find them attractive options. There had been overwhelmingly positive feedback for the idea of a tiny house community in the red zone, Sutherland said.

"We're very positive, we feel this definitely needs to be part of the regeneration of Christchurch," he said. Around 7000 homes were cleared from the red zone after the 2011 earthquakes at a cost of $1.5 billion to the Crown, most of which was spent in the Avon River suburbs. Regenerate Christchurch chief executive Ivan Lafeta said while no decisions had been made on the long-term use of the red zone, the agency was open to the possibility of tiny housing. A residential land use assessment for the area found building homes to a better standard did not necessarily mean stronger or more expensive, he said. Instead, it might mean building differently, with Lafeta citing lightweight or off-grid homes as possible examples.
The interior of a tiny house build by Kyle Sutherland

"The design of any houses would need to recognise the hazards that could cause significant damage such as earthquakes and flooding," he said. Submissions on the 10 options for the red zone closed on Monday. Regenerate will hold an exhibition of shortlisted options early next year. A draft Regeneration Plan outlining the preferred land use plan for the area would be developed by the end of 2018. This would not necessarily include residential uses.

Christchurch Press