Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

This Tiny House Might be Where We Park Our Lives in the Future

There are approximately 105,000,000 parking spaces in the United States–five for every car. At least half of all available parking spaces are vacant 40% of the time. That’s a lot of unused space dedicated to something that, while still in wide circulation, might be seeing the end of its reign as transit supreme. If we succeed in building a denser, walkable, bikeable, less-car-dependent world, we will need to do something with all of these parking spaces. That’s exactly what the folks over at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) want to do with their SCADpad project. SCADpads are designed to use parking spaces as housing lots for a cost-effective way of creating more urban density while using existing and underutilized infrastructure.


SCADpads are basically high tech versions of the tiny houses made popular by Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and others. The fact that one of the world’s top design schools is paying attention to this diminutive housing typology makes the project noteworthy. 75 Students, 12 faculty-members and 37 alumni designed these fully self-sufficient homes that include flexible eating, sleeping, bath and play spaces. We wonder if this large design team was responsible for the bizarre, hodge-podge interior design.


Christian Sottile, dean of the SCAD School of Building Arts said this about the project to Fast Company:

SCADpad is designed by millennials for millennials. And that provides this really interesting laboratory for experimentation. You’ve got this enormous population group–78 million plus–and 88% of them want to be in an urban setting. Affordable, efficient housing is important to them, along with mobility, and not being tethered to a car, and having collaborative living environments.

In other words, the SCADpad is the architectural equivalent of the IKEA PS2014 collection we looked at a few weeks ago–both are designed specifically for millennials for whom mobility is of the utmost concern.

Three SCADpad prototypes have been set up in an Atlanta parking garage. 12 students will be living in them starting April 15. Each 135 sq ft home has an adjoining parking space as a “terrace.” The garage they chose is at SCAD’s Atlanta campus and has lovely views of that city’s skyline, though we wonder how the houses would fair in a garage’s unlit interior spaces. The setup has “a community garden watered with filterer greywater from one of the SCADpad units and fed by a fiber optic sun harvesting system and high efficiency composting systems,” according to a press release. There is also a maker space with 3D printer to make accessories for the homes.

Using parking spaces as housing lots, especially in sprawling cities like Atlanta that have parking in their DNA, is a great idea. It adds housing density in spaces that have historically opposed and prevented it. Like all tiny houses, SCADpad’s big challenge might be legislative. The demand for affordable, central housing is apparent. Whether the governmental powers-that-be permit the creative solutions that will make that possible remains to be seen.

Via Next City and SCAD Blog

  • I lived in a 168 sf converted single car garage with a 3′ adjoining breezeway for about 3 years. It was a great apartment for a single person. I’m certain they’ll have fun!

  • This is an interesting subject. Tiny houses, and ultra compact studio apartments are definitely in our near future, particularly in large cities.

  • MH

    Shouldn’t it be 105 million parking spaces seems a bit low to me. Is there a zero missing?

  • DC

    I thought there were 200,000,000 cars in the US, 2 cars for every stall. Are you off by a factor of 10?

  • LPW2000

    I believe in the cause, but the parking space statistics pose a specious argument. While vacant 40% of the time, or 50 or 60 or 70…the value of the space is when it is used. It’s a peak load problem to be sure, but reducing the available spaces would create a shortage. Sorry to be a buzz killer.

    • I would suspect that the underlying agenda is to reduce parking space availability and thus incentivize alternate means of transportation by increasing inconvenience. I’d say the other way to be a buzz killer is to say that instead of merely making it 1 unit per every 2 spaces, the appropriate approach is to just rip out the parking lot altogether and build a multi-story apartment complex which would provide way more units per acre.

  • Babs

    The decor is just like the old Hippie vans of my youth.

  • Roger

    Natives took teepees everywhere and cowboys just plopped down with a bedroll or covered wagon. Time to cut the everyone needs a McMansion BS, and it’s far past time for zoning laws to start reflecting that.

  • I like the idea of compact and mobile living space. The idea of having the freedom to pick up and move your home at any given time sounds great.