An Interview with Karen Chapple, Professor of Urban Planning at UC Berkeley
Tiny Houses as a Solution for Affordable Housing.
When we emailed Karen Chapple last spring, for an interview about her recently-built, net-zero small house, she wrote us back jokingly, “Join the club.”
There’s been a lot of interest in Karen’s 420-square foot house, which she built in the backyard of her Berkeley home and currently rents out to another family. This is in part because Karen’s personal experiment in urban development is the first piece of a larger study that looks at how small houses might be a solution for affordable housing in the Bay Area.
Karen’s work as a professor of city and regional planning at UC Berkeley also makes her particularly knowledgeable about building and development, and a perfect interview subject for questions about where the future of tiny houses might be headed.
Our favorite thing about Karen? She’s not an easy convert. She’s quite happy living in her standard-sized home, and thinks that in some ways, the Tiny House movement might be too individualistic—is it really possible to fit a family into 120 square feet, for example? But she does admire the movement as “an innovation,” and looks forward to exploring the solutions that building small might provide for high-density urban areas and low-income housing.
Here’s a quick excerpt from our interview, in which Karen explains why small houses offer exciting possibilities for affordable housing in urban areas.
Stay tuned for more!