The homeless and their advocates envision tiny houses as a practical solution to soaring housing costs. Environmental activists tout them for encouraging a minimalist, non-wasteful lifestyle and for being far more sustainable than recreational vehicles. Tiny houses have also fired the public imagination as designers compete and enthusiasts compare features of the many models available. Yet more than 100 years after the simple earthquake cottages provided safe, durable and affordable housing, urban and suburban zoning codes outlawing the installation of tiny houses remain inviolate.Claims by property owners and business interests of possible threats to public safety posed by the introduction of tiny homes continue to dominate the debate, just as they did more than a century ago. Such claims ignore the immediate threats to the safety of people living on the streets and only thinly mask the concerns that truly dominate: the property values and profits of the already comfortably housed.
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