The Tiny Town Movement

Let's talk about making legal places for Tiny Homes. Tiny homes offer another way of addressing affordable housing and homelessness. These discussion areas provide a forum where we can develop the ideas and strategies that can make Tiny Towns a reality. To become part of the discussion simply Join the Association (it's Free) and then get into the conversation on topics that interest you.
  1. Ed Peterson
  2. Sherlock Holmes
  3. Tiny Town Design
  4. Thursday, 24 August 2017

The purpose of this project is to identify what features will be built into the requirements for the construction of each Tiny Town. The Tiny Towns will be designed specifically for Tiny Homes on Wheels (THOWs). The following list are thoughts I have assembled to date:

  • Each town site will be built on 100+/- acres
  • 10% of the town land will be set aside for community land
  • A network of roads needs to be planned that can accommodate a MDP but can be expanded to a High Density Plan (HDP) as required
  • Each town will provide sites of various sizes to accommodate a variety of living styles. A proposed breakdown and site reference names are below:
    • Mixed Density Plan (MDP)
    • 10 tiny homes per acre - 300 sites - Minimalist site
    • 4 tiny homes per acre - 96 sites - Outdoors site
    • 2 tiny homes per acre - 40 sites - Naturalist site
    • 1 tiny home per acre - 12 sites - Freedom site
    • 1 tiny home per acre - 4 sites - Baron site
  • Each town will be developed along its MDP, but will be able to expand to a HDP as site demand increases. Basically every acre will be designed to be converted to Minimalist sites, and the plan will include which areas will be moved to HDP and in what order to accommodate a smooth transition to the HDP if required.
  • A trail system throughout the town needs to be incorporated to allow citizens to move within the town either by foot, bike, cross-country skis, etc. that is seperate from car traffic. The trail will connect to a central point in each Minimalist pod (group of 10 sites) and will connect directly to all of the other types of sites.
  • The basic mixed density housing will accommodate 452 tiny homes, with the ability to expand to a maximum of 825 tiny homes per town.
  • 10% of the total number of homes in a town will be designated as Social projects. The ideal placement is 1 per Minimalist pod.
  • Assuming each tiny home could accommodate up to 3 people, a maximum town population, at HDP could include 2,500 residents
  • Each town is planned to operate off-grid and includes its own:
    • power production
    • waste management
    • compost, garbage and recycling processing
    • water treatment
  • Each town could include in the community land horticulture production
    • public gardens for flowers
    • public gardens for vegetables
    • a community greenhouse
  • Each town could include a small basic retail outlet, a general store
  • Each town should include some form of postal/shipping/receiving services
  • Each town should include some form of public transit between the host city and the town.

As mentioned at the onset, these are ideas and I am open to discussions on each of these points, as well as new ideas that could be incorporated. We need to look ahead in our planning, so that Tiny Towns can benefit from every town design to date and avoid running into the same challenges that traditional towns do today.

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  1. Jason Beisick
  2. 2 years ago
  3. #1
This is a great starting point Ed. Where did the numbers come from, just throwing numbers out or is there a reason for such numbers?
  1. Ed Peterson
  2. 2 years ago
  3. #2
Thanks Jason. See my response for more details.
  1. Jason Beisick
  2. 2 years ago
  3. #4
See your response where? I am still figuring out how to navigate this forum lol.
  1. Ed Peterson
  2. 2 years ago
  3. #5
No problem, look below V
  1. Guest
  2. 2 years ago
  3. #6
Ahh! Gotcha!!
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Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Yes, plus 10% or 10 acres for common area = 100 acres. The common areas I thought could include: - flower/vegetable/fruit gardens - greenhouse - green space - citizen site transition area - walking trails - a town hall/square which would have multiple functions: meeting hall, town admin office - control center, amphitheatre, general store, market, citizen group function hall, etc. I am also not sure if roads, power production/storage, waste management, and water treatment/storage will also need to be included in the common area or if they will just be a part of each pod's space allocation. Once we get to computerizing the town design, knowing the space requirements for everything, we can see where everything fits (town typography allowing of course).
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. Tiny Town Design
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

To begin I should mention that I have tried to model the town design so they can grow to accommodate an increase in demand as tiny homes become a viable housing option in the future. I have picked 100 acres as a town site size, simply because I have found it is still affordable in most areas.

After hundreds of spreadsheets, I settled on this mix of site sizes. In my calculations I have assumed that there will be different preferences by tiny homeowners based somewhat on the following criteria:

  • cost will play a factor in the demand for town sites and the density of the sites will determine a monthly site rental fee. The higher the density, the lower the rental cost.
  • the permanence of the site renter may determine the size of the site rented. In other-wards, renters that expect to stay longer, may want to rent a larger site.
  • the financial ability of the site renter may determine the size of the site selected.
  • the social inclination of the homeowner may determine their site preference. Higher density areas will potentially provide more homeowner interaction, if the sites are designed on a central common area. I have referred to the Minimalist site grouping as pods, and envisioned a small central common area in each pod community. (see the Mount Hood sites photos as an example).

Over time, the development of a business model for Tiny Towns helped me see how each town needs to be able to financially support itself. This will happen through the site rental fees, so part of my modelling also looked at what type of a mix of sites would produce the income needed to operate, maintain and expand to include the services needed/wanted in the town.

Here is my latest model for the site density

 Sites Name     Distribution Tinys
      Standard max
Minimalist 10 per acre 30% 300
Outdoors 4 per acre 24% 96
Naturalist 2 per acre 20% 40
Freedom 1 per acre 12% 12
Baron 1 per acre 4% 4
Tiny Hometowns 100 acres 90% 452

The standard distribution indicates how I expect that the towns could build up to initially and I modelled a high density distribution to determine what the town would need to support at 90% Minimalist density (the highest planned at 825 tiny homes per town). This maximum is what I think the services and town layout should be designed to accommodate. 

Depending on costs, I had also thought to look at what would be required to plan to hook in a complete other Tiny Town in the major host cities (Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, etc.) as I expect that with time, demand in these cities will be highest.

While these numbers may seem daunting, when you consider a national project, they are really quite small. I have used 40,000 residents in a host city to identify sites for Tiny Towns (133 in all). Even at the maximum density of a Tiny Town with the potential to accommodate 2,500 resident (3 per site), this is a drop in the bucket beside most of these towns.

What I have imagined is that Tiny Homeowners in the groups identified will emerge from the host cites and live in Tiny Towns for a period. Young people will move into tiny homes until they create a family and need more living space, retirees or empty nesters will live there until they need more care. These groups will move into and out of tiny homes. The final and more permanent rpotential residents in Tiny Towns is singles and couples without children. These groups could become permanent tiny homeowners and potential longterm residents of Tiny Towns.

In all, this "big" project is not really big in the scheme of things.


  1. Jason Beisick
  2. 2 years ago
  3. #8
So let me see if I understand the numbers correctly then:

10 Tiny Homes (Sites)/Acre = Minimalist Pod
30 Minimalist Pods = 300 Sites (Tiny Homes) = 30 Acre Minimalist Site

4 Tiny Homes (Sites)/Acre = Outdoors Pod
24 Outdoors Pods = 96 Sites (Tiny Homes) = 24 Acre Outdoors Site

2 Tiny Homes (Sites)/Acre = Naturalist Pod
20 Naturalist Pods = 40 Sites (Tiny Homes) = 20 Acre Naturalist Site

1 Tiny Home (Site)/Acre = Freedom Pod
12 Freedom Pods = 12 Sites (Tiny Homes) = 12 Acre Freedom Site

1 Tiny Home (Site)/Acre = Baron Pod
4 Baron Pods = 4 Sites (Tiny Homes) = 4 Acre Baron Site

And a mixture of the above makes up the Tiny Town.
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. Tiny Town Design
  3. # 2
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