“a Pod Is No Home” – Really?

So I was googling around about micro-housing, and I found this:

http://www.seattlemet.com/news-and-profiles/publicola/articles/city-could-put-moratorium-on-apodments-march-2013

Photo credit: SeattleMet.com

Background info: This sign is referring to a series of buildings with micro-units known as “aPodments.” (Now isn’t that clever?!) While the sign may be from 2012, Seattle has been and still is embroiled in a micro-housing war. Across the city, proposals for putting up buildings with micro-units are being fought rigorously by neighborhood groups and individuals slinging piping hot pour overs at farmers markets. (I made up that last part about the coffee. Although that’s how I envision Seattle-ites fighting with each other.) It’s a strange situation: micro-housing touts itself as being the most sustainable, the most green — why would so many people in a city known as a leader in sustainability and green living (and fantastic coffee and interesting fashion trends) be so against micro-housing?

Micro-housing is one of the fastest-growing housing trends in Seattle for its affordability and sustainable lifestyle. But the problems have to do with neighborhood fabric and taxes. Put up a micro-housing complex and people who have lived in the neighborhoods for years suddenly have 40-100 new strangers on the block, depending on how many units are in the building. Many find this threatening to the fabric of their communities. They also worry about declining property values when a five-story contemporary complex goes up in a neighborhood of 1940s bungalows (or whatever). And finally, there’s the money. Many of these projects are exempt from property taxes. Don’t ask me how that works, but basically the property will not contribute to the tax base that provides funding for important community things like parks and schools. And let me tell ya, if you’re living in a box, you’ll really need that park.

I refuse to take sides in the disagreement. I can see the pros and cons of each side, but I don’t live in Seattle. What most intrigued me was the sign’s claim that “aPod is NO home.”

Really? It’s a very strong statement. It implies that a pod can never, ever be a home. This begs a deeper philosophical question about the meaning of the word “home,” which just sounds like an exhausting brain exercise so we’re not going to go there. But why can’t a pod be a home? Sure it’s small, but it’s liveable as long as there’s some outdoor space as well. A pod was essentially my home, if only for a few days. With a few tweaks in my lifestyle, and maybe somewhere to hang clothing, I do think my SCADpad could be a home.

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