Small and smart
Steve Mouzon writes about the first "Smart Dwellings" now complete in Belize. I know many designers and planners scoff at projects built in resort areas, but I've always felt that lessons (good and bad) can be learned anywhere. Steve writes about this phenomenon:
When people are home, their surroundings are familiar and quickly become a part of the background of life. But when they go somewhere exotic on vacation, their eyes open wide as they take in the unfamiliar setting in all its detail. That’s why starting a design revolution next door is difficult, but changing things by planting new ideas in exotic settings can be quite effective. Seaside spawned the New Urbanism movement as a resort town, as you may know. Because it was visited by millions over the years, the dream of Seaside went home with most of those millions, planting the seeds of traditional neighborhoods all over the US and abroad. We're hoping a similar thing happens with the SmartDwellings at Mahogany Bay Village.
Some specifics on SmartDwellings:
they’re designed to make people happier in a house half the size of the one they might ordinarily want. To be that much smaller and smarter, the SmartDwelling must do extraordinarily clever space-saving things, so that you can actually store more things from your life in a SmartDwelling than in the sheetrock box houses that normally get built. SmartDwellings use every available cubic inch of space, doing things like transforming interior walls into storage units, building cozy dining booths rather than drafty dining rooms, and storing clothes in cabinetry such as armoires rather than in boring drywall closets.
I've always been a big fan of Sarah Susanka's Not So Big House series, which show the value of smart design for homes. The SmartDwelling idea looks like it could be a good companion to the movement for smaller and smarter homes.