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.

Data Driven Architecture

One of this site’s most popular posts to date is “Residential Behavioral Architecture 101.” The reason, I believe, is how it shows the gulf between how our homes are used and how they are designed, not from a speculative or conjectural perspective, but from a data and fact-driven one. In the post is a map showing how one particular family moves through their house and how they use only a fraction of the available floor area (a map that the researchers of the study that made it believe is representative of many homes). The map helps remove the political and dogmatic notes that often enter the downsizing conversation and make it wholly practical. We should consider downsizing our very large homes because we usually don’t use most of our available space.

I recently did a guest post for the website Medium, entitled “Design Driven Architecture.” In it, I bring up the map (pulled from the illuminating “Life At Home in the 21st Century”), once again making the argument that much of the floor area of large homes goes unused. But I go a few steps further in showing how home design is often out of step with data–a gap that undermines personal and global interests. I point to a growing body of research that shows how our big homes are:

  • Housing stuff we rarely use.
  • Pushing us further from city centers, making our commutes increasingly long. And numerous studies show how we hate commuting.
  • Completely out of step with demographic trends toward smaller households for all ages and particularly for older adults.
  • Helping push our already precarious environmental situation further toward the brink.

After all that, we present what we see as ways forward with a bunch of pretty pictures. Read the full post here and let us know what you think.

Suburban neighborhood image via Shutterstock