Housing in America is a problem on a number of levels:

  • Expensive
  • Damaging to the environment
  • Wasteful in regards to space
  • Hard to find
  • Unattractive

This could not be more evident than in our urban and metropolitan centers. While there are some incredibly beautiful and endearing historic neighborhoods and there are thoughtful, contemporary areas, the gap between those houses and affordable houses is huge, staggering even. In Boston alone the median sale price of a single-family home in the metro region was $585,000 in June, 2016, while the per capita income was just $25,952. That leaves a number of groups including recent college grads, elderly residents, a singles, a newlywed couple, or a young family, grasping at a seemingly desperate situation. Quite frankly there is a shortage of small units in all neighborhoods for these groups. A uhü (Urban Housing Unit) community could be the answer though!

Uhu 1

At 385 sq.ft. this collaborative effort between The Mayor’s Housing Innovation Lab, BSA SPACE, and livelight, could possibly be an answer for housing renewal. A few of the more dynamic features are that the uhü is built in a factory and shipped to site (a low cost, high quality method of construction), built extra strong so that up to four units could be stacked on top of each other, and complete with heating, cooling, and water built right in, so inhabitants have total control through integrated smart home technology.

Uhu 2

Even at $75,000 (seven times cheaper than the average condo in Boston), the uhü has much more to offer the urban set. Take for instance its thoughtful design.

One full wall is a glass double door, so the unit is bright. If you open the doors in front and back a nice cross breeze takes advantage of passive cooling and cross-ventilation thanks to a wide hallway. The footprint features a bedroom, hallway, and living room, plus a bathroom, with room for closets and a kitchen! True to “tiny” form, the uhü is also built with pocket doors, high shelves, and tucked away media.

Uhu 3

photo courtesy of David L. Ryan/Globe Staff 

Uhu 5

photo courtesy of David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

What is most cool about the uhü is that they’re designed to be combined. You can bolt two units together and create a 770 sq.ft. two-bedroom house. This sort of light living is no longer viewed as housing for twenty-somethings.

Uhu 4

The Uhu is intended “to develop a model of housing for the workforce,” says Addison Godine of Live Light. “Developers are good at building luxury and subsidized affordable housing, but we have been neglecting the ‘missing middle.’ If Boston is going to be an inclusive city, we need to innovate ways to build housing that working people can afford without subsidies.” 1

1 Boston Teases 385 Square Feet of Help for Affordable Housing Crisis

Leave a Reply

  1. Candace

    Love it! Tasteful and livable. How much?

  2. Kathryn

    Please send me more information on uhu and the requirements for city codes. Will this work in Seattle?

    I love tiny living as an over 50 individual and am interested for myself.

  3. Carol Martin

    Impressive how much and is the toilet flush or composting? How would one order one?

  4. Gail

    I love it and would definitely live in it, but I would switch the balcony and entrance around so people don’t come in through the bedroom. Beautiful!

  5. Linda

    Lovely. Tons on storage.
    Almost looks like a container

  6. Sandra artiles

    Hello, how do you go by buying this? And how out parking space, Do you need to buy land?
    Please reply to asac13@hotmail.com
    Sandra artiles

  7. Margret

    I love it as it is one level; don’t like stairs as I am getting older now. Also love the fresh, clean airy look.

  8. Rick Post

    What’s the cost? Can you order one or more? Where?

  9. tacomapat

    People. Read the article. It costs $75K!

  10. Diane Elliott

    I agree with the entrance door being elsewhere…also what would the shipping cost be from point of manufacture to Charlotte, NC

  11. Deb Harper

    Really love. I agree I don’t like the entrance. Could balcony or decking be the entrance and the current storage and entrance are possibly House bunk beds with room for a hallway?

  12. Michelle Moore

    With all of the really innovative ideas I have seen on the various “tiny house” postings, i must say I am very underwhelmed with the layout of this unit. The very first thing that jumped out was wasting all of that square footage in the wide hallway. Think they need to go back to the drawing board on this one.

  13. Gerald Bixler

    I would love to know if this type of unit could be financed with a VA mortgage?
    Gerry in Beaufort, SC

  14. Mildred

    I love it and would definitely live in one. More spacious than any tiny house I have seen.


    I love it, and would live in one here in Florida if I had the place to put it….!

  16. Deborah West

    Very nicely put together. Is it on wheels? Just wondering because you could get around codes if it’s RV style and could move it around, maybe twice a year for snowbirds. Lovely!

  17. Pat Dunn

    I Love it.. What’s the price? I need one shipped to Tennessee is this something that you can do? Or do I need to provide transportation?

    I am very serious please get back with me

  18. Kathleen Phillips-Hellman

    What idiot put the entry in the bedroom?

  19. Elizabeth Robinson

    Would like more information, please.

  20. Emily

    No information on how more than one would go together. If one is set up as office space with a bathroom and storage, a lot of people who work at home or have a hobby (even mechanical repair) would be interested.

    One picture shows wheels, looks more like house is put on a trailer.

    No dimensions are provided. Anything more than 8 feet wide that doesn’t have a motor as part of itself needs escort to move down a highway (unless it is delivered by airplane, of course).

    What if any appliances are included in the price – and furniture. These tiny houses always have crude furniture.