Built Environment and Social Practice

The Tiny House movement in the U.S. advocates radically downsizing one’s living space. Dee Williams, owner of Portland Alternative Dwellings, lives in an 84 square-foot bungalow. Her smaller home has led to different practices. Without a monthly mortgage payment, she is able to offer other people her money and, more importantly, her time because, with fewer financial obligations, she doesn’t have to work as much. Her built environment has freed her to do more fulfilling things with her life. After watching this video,

it struck me that her relationship with space and attitude toward life are similar to those of Spanish squatters known as okupas. One reason given for squatting is to be freed from the weight of housing costs to be able to dedicate more time to other, more socially rewarding endeavors (See minute 7:45 of Un metro cuadrado – in Spanish).

For both Williams and okupas, social transformation is linked to the built environment.

This entry was posted in Activism, Architecture and tagged by Stephen Vilaseca. Bookmark the permalink.

About Stephen Vilaseca

I am Stephen Vilaseca, Assistant Professor of Spanish of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Northern Illinois University. I have published articles on the relationship between public and private space, urban growth and cultural resistance in several academic journals. Currently, I am working on a book-length project on the relationship between okupas, social policies and the precarious urban experience in Barcelona of the twenty-first century.

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