What is Think Big Live Little?
TBLL is the latest nadatodo® project. In its simplest form, it is a tiny house design and build incentive challenge that plugs Canadian talent to create unique and innovative home designs. This tiny concept came to me while working at Habitat for Humanity in Vancouver as its director of marketing. Rent and housing prices are sky high. How could we shift the paradigm, and live more affordable and sustainable? Over time, the project has evolved and now includes an environmental twist: to use reclaimed building materials in its construction and meet some of the City of Vancouver’s deconstruction goals as laid out in its Greenest City 2020 Action Plan. (What’s a tiny house? Tiny homes are small homes, 100 to 400 or up to 1000 square feet depending on who you talk to; they can be built on a chassis or with a foundation.)
TBLL’s main objectives are simple: to bring ingenuity to traditional homebuilding ways and to address the housing (un)affordability crisis in Canada. Later on in the ideation process, it took on another challenge: to divert construction waste from our landfills and interject these reclaimed materials into creative projects. In its latest iteration, TBLL hopes to go beyond contest and concept, and sketch out all real possibilities of small living in our urban centres. By this I mean, how can tiny homes be integrated into our existing neighbourhoods?
Think Big Live Little is currently running the think tank circuit: SFU’s innovation hub, RADIUS; and The Banff Centre’s residency program ALT/Now, focused on economic inequality as it relates to housing and other themes. As mentioned, TBLL’s focus has slightly shifted from its contest roots and expanded to include the development of innovative tiny prototypes (along with spec plans) for cities to explore in their own municipalities.
Thanks to my early network of passionate supporters, a hub of talented and willing thinkers, builders, planners, designers and architects is being formed (with financiers, developers and lawyers soon to join the conversation). Join us! Together, we will draft next steps and create the necessary literature to get city leaders thinking big and living little. Here’s to our shared success.
Keep you posted on the journey ahead!
UPDATE! As of July 2016, Think Big Live Little is in partnership with the BC Tiny House Collective, a community-run organization for the legalization and legitimization of tiny houses across British Columbia. The collective is co-founded by Anastasia and Samantha Gambling, and is working alongside the City of Vancouver and its staff, CityStudio and several universities to examine the current barriers to tiny living in our region, and what our next steps ought to be. More on the collective and its initiatives at bctinyhousecollective.com.
TEDx goes tiny with nadatodo
In January I pitched our tiny house project to TEDxEastVan and got shortlisted to audition. Amazing! Over 140 people applied and 50 were shortlisted. To me, that’s success whether my talk is ultimately picked or not. I auditioned last week to a panel of six, a video camera off in the corner and my fellow auditioners in the room. Needless to say, my mouth went so dry I think my lips were sticking to my gums. Hopefully the camera didn’t catch that. Truly honoured to be recognized within such a dynamic group of presenters. Best of luck to everyone and fingers crossed our talk on the making of the modern home, housing affordability and building tiny (go Think Big Live Little) gets some love. Peace out, Stasia
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year on nadatodo
A few updates to share… While Think Big Live Little made it to the reserve round for The Banff Centre’s ALT/Now program, it wasn’t shortlisted. Congratulations to everyone who was accepted. Intrigued to find out the ways you’re tackling economic inequality through housing and beyond. Also, our tiny project applied for SFU’s RADIUS innovation hub. In the end, we weren’t chosen but we wish all participants creativity and forward-thinking in their social enterprises. Before you think Think Big Live Little is dead in the water, think again. It’s now taking on its biggest challenge yet: to create regulations, guidelines and plans for tiny homes in our cities. Email me if you’d like to join the tiny hub in making this happen. Wishing you all the very best over this holiday season, and continued health and success in 2016! Love, Anastasia
Economic inequality at The Banff Centre on nadatodo
This past weekend, I had two days to put together an application for The Banff Centre’s ALT/Now program. The focus? Economic inequality as it relates to four themes, one of which is housing. I was kindly nominated by a fellow master recycler and applied with only a few hours to go. On Monday I got the news. I wasn’t shortlisted, but was asked to be put on reserve. While at first I took this as not cutting the mustard, I’m grateful that the concept of prototyping tiny homes got me into a potential second round of sorts. The jury expressed interest in the project and now we wait. A total of 26 thriving entrepreneurs will be brought to Banff to expand upon their theme and focus over the course of four five-day residencies. Fingers crossed an interview is in the works. And best of luck to all those who were shortlisted.
Tiny homes project in Canada on nadatodo
The fall is upon us. But rewind to June, and that’s when all things itsy bitsy began. As former director of marketing with Habitat for Humanity in Vancouver, I got a total education in housing in our city, and just how unaffordable it really is. That in mind, and after watching a film on tiny homes, the wheels started to turn and Think Big Live Little took shape. A design and build contest, TBLL uses tiny homes to flush out some amazing designs, and incorporate them into existing neighbourhoods. So the mission began. I spoke to City of Vancouver cultural planners, the Vancouver Economic Commission, UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, the Industry Training Authority, Habitat for Humanity Canada (an official partner!), SFU, Emily Carr, AIBC, amazing architects and planners, BCTIA… Feedback was great but still, what legacy would TBLL leave? Second iteration, and TBLL was pitched to SFU’s innovation hub, RADIUS. Now, not only was Think Big Live Little focused on its incentive challenge but added deconstruction practices to the mix. What if 70 to 80% of your construction materials were reclaimed? Not only would the house be sustainable and eco-friendly, it would take design to the next level. After meeting with city planners in New Westminster, North Vancouver and Pitt Meadows, I was on a high. People seemed receptive to the idea of building tiny. It fell in line with their affordable housing strategies, and could work as secondary suites or as intensification models. Fast forward to a couple weeks ago, and I had the chance to meet with the planning department at the City of Coquitlam. Accompanied by a tiny house builder, I changed my tune. I wasn’t just promoting the design contest, I was promoting tiny homes for future community development. The goal was lofty, and the room, a soundboard for nope, not in our backyard, what?!… Rather than see the get-together as a total write-off, it got me thinking about small living as a whole. And that for TBLL to fly sky high, tiny homes had to be conceivable beyond concept; we had to play by city rules. So where does that leave TBLL? Alive and well, but with a new focus: to prototype tiny homes as single use and within community-based typology. To create the framework—building plans/specs and legal—to integrate small living into our Canadian cities, and potentially, our future cities. Working alongside top senior architects, planners, designers, builders, developers, financiers and lawyers—we’re developing all possibilities for tiny living in our backyards, with the hopes of sharing plans A, B and C with municipalities from X, Y and Z. With that said, let the journey begin!