Tiny house communities are not a new concept at all. The desire for living amongst like-minded people has been a strong one throughout history and it especially robust in the modern tiny house movement. Since the beginning of 2017 the idea of organized community in a populated and more urban environment (with its respective level of culture, arts, and lifestyle) has found new life in Oklahoma City, OK, in the up and coming Wheeler District.
According to their website, “Wheeler is a newly-imagined neighborhood in downtown Oklahoma City. Designed through a community charrette in the summer of 2014, Wheeler is first to expand the modern development footprint to the south bank of the Oklahoma River. Its layout encourages walking or bicycling to school, work, dining, the Ferris wheel and beyond.
From tiny houses to town homes, Wheeler features a range of for-sale and for-rent housing for pioneering families that want the convenience and quality of a newly constructed home connected to the amenities and offerings of Oklahoma City’s dynamic urban core.”
And so there it is: “tiny houses to town homes”.
The Wheeler District already is known for the riverbank Ferris wheel erected last year. They are now working through various other projects including infrastructure and housing. Wheeler’s 2,000 housing units are expected to range from single-family homes, to duplexes and triplexes, apartments and even garage apartments. The vision also includes “tiny houses” of as little as 700 square feet. That doesn’t sound quite like the definition of tiny that has become commonly accepted. But it does highlight the discrepancy between the legal standings of American housing and the desired standings of American housing. Says lead developer Blair Humphreys, “residences are to meet the needs in size, type and price of a broad spectrum of individuals and families, from college students and singles to empty-nesters. Plans are for 20 percent of housing to be affordable, at the low end accommodating those with household incomes in the $35,000-per-year range.” But where does this leave tiny houses?
In February of 2017 Tiny Homes of Oklahoma announced the following on their Facebook page:
Exciting news to share! We met with the Wheeler District team Monday and are happy to announce that we will be collaborating with them to bring tiny living to OKC! You will be able to choose from a selection of approved tiny home designs with exteriors that meet the Wheeler District’s design guidelines and standards. The tiny home interiors are limited only to your imagination! The Wheeler District will have the best amenities that OKC has to offer just a few minutes from downtown. The master plan includes extensive bike trails in addition to all of the other offerings of Oklahoma City’s dynamic urban core. We’ll announce more details in the coming weeks!
It has become a very real possibility that a major city in the United States not just allows for tiny houses but actually works them into a new development.
In mid-March Wheeler began its second Ferris Wheeler season and visitor noticed increased social activity including food trucks, hammocks, a bocce ball court, and more. As of yet though no concrete plans have been made regarding housing and no further changes to the zoning has been announced.
Stay tuned though. Wheelers wheels are turning!