Small House Society – News 200912 | 2 December 2009 | Wednesday

Dear Friend of Small, Simple, and Sustainable Living,

Gregory Johnson - photo by Makur Jain

I know that time is precious for everyone, so I’ll try to keep this update short. The approximate reading time is about 4 minutes. Feel free to reduce your reading time even more by skipping over topics that don’t interest you.

Year in Review. As we close out 2009, much progress has been made in the movement toward smaller, simpler, and more sustainable living. As an organization, the Small House Society helps facilitate the small house movement by providing support to small house designers, builders, and dwellers, as well as bringing media attention to the movement. This year, we had our one millionth visitor to the site. In 2010, we’re looking for more innovative ways to provide support and assistance to those involved in the movement. We continue to operate as a member supported organization.

Personal Housing Change. As some of you know, this past month I got married, and I’m currently living with my wife in a micro apartment located in downtown Iowa City. Continuing to live in a minimalist tiny space helps us as we  are planning to eventually build a negative carbon footprint home somewhere in Iowa City. The Mobile Hermitage continues on as a guest house and Iowa City’s Smallest Bed and Breakfast.

20091014we-natural-home-magazine-2008-MayJuneIn the News. The Small House Movement has been getting some excellent exposure in the media.

Small Living Journal. The Small Living Journal is a project that was received with great enthusiasm by thousands of people. The journal writers took a break over the past few months, but the site should be receiving submissions again soon as we close the year and head into 2010.

Tumbleweed Blog. The blog at offers excellent information on a wide variety of simpler smaller living issues.

From previous newsletters…

Highlights. Below are some highlights from recent newsletters for those of you who have recently subscribed.

The Clayton i-house. The most recent designer/builder to boldly enter the national stage has been Clayton with their i-house. [see video]

FLYP Media. There was a very nice multi-page article produced by Flyp Media. If you missed it, you’ll want to take a look.

Small House Movement Video Overview. In response to hundreds of email and phone inquires, I’ve created a simple 10 minute video that introduces the Small House Movement. A new and improved version of this video will be produced in the future in response to feedback and suggestions. Please watch the video and let me know if you have any comments.

Rocio Romero. From their latest newsletter, it’s clear that Rocio Romero is continuing to design and build art that you can live in. Take a look.

Tata Housing. The India-based company, Tata made news recently for creating the world’s first $2,500 car, the Tata Nano. It’s not a concept car. It’s an award winning vehicle that people are purchasing and driving. Now Tata has launched Tata Housing. What Tata has achieved with small cars they are now creating in the small house industry. I’ll be going to India on June 26 through July 12 and hope to learn more while I’m there.

The Small House Book. Jay’s newest book, The Small House Book, is now available on the website and has received positive reviews among those who have read it. If you use our link to the website, some proceeds from book and home sales will help support the Small House Society.

Energy Efficient Construction Video. A video is now available for those interested in extreme energy savings. Take a look.

Small Living Presentation in Wisconsin. On 2 April 2009, at a conference on Temperance at Viterbo University, in La Crosse, Wisconsin, I delivered the keynote presentation on the topic of simple and small living. A complete video of the presentation (1 hour of presentation and 20 minutes of questions and answers) is available for viewing on and

Small Living Journal. The recent launch of the Small Living Journal at was a huge success. The journal was launched on 23 March 2009 with it’s first issue, and since then thousands of people have visited the site and hundreds signed up for the RSS Feed. The Small Living Journal began as a simple idea put forth by Stephanie Reiley (of Stephanie contacted many of the writers (and leading voices) within the small house movement; people who are regularly sharing their own small living experiences on blogs and websites. She brought these writers together, one by one, to join in a kind of collaborative writing project that would be the Small House Journal. Already admired and respected in the movement, it didn’t take Stephanie long to gather a significant base of support, and the dream became a reality. Please take a moment now to visit the Small Living Journal and subscribe to the RSS Feed.

New Online Community. In recent months, there has been incredible growth among the small living online comunities and discussion forums. In addition to the Small House Society Online at Yahoo Groups, there is now a new Small House Society Online Community at with small living topics organized into sub-forums rather than a single discussion list. It’s advertising free and doesn’t require a Yahoo account. Visit the Community Information page for more information including a video tour. Other communities and discussion lists, independent of the Small House Society, include the Tiny House Yahoo Group, The Tiny House Forum by Michael Janzen, and the Tiny House Village Network. The combined membership of these groups represents thousands of people. The messages posted to the forums and lists exceed 10,000 messages. I believe this is a sign that the small house movement has reached critical mass and is about to experience rapid growth in the coming months. The Small House Society Online Community maintains an active listing of current discussion lists and online forums.

New Live Events and Workshops. As of this month, now offers online events, seminars, classes, workshops, presentations, and teleconferencing. Using this new technology, the Small House Society hopes to offer special live events as well as hosting collaborative meetings for the movement. More news will be in next month’s newsletter.

Media Coverage. There continues to be excellent media exposure for the movement toward smaller and simpler living. Just about every week we receive media inquires from print and television journalists around the world. Most recently the Small House Society was featured in the Financial Times of London and Shedworking (both with photos courtesy of my Fiancée, Makur). There was also a very nice article about the movement in the Economist.

Interviews. Please let me know if you would like to have your website and business featured in a video. The plan is to explore small living websites while interviewing the owner(s) about their work. The narrative can accompany a video tour of the website.

How a House is Built. The latest book from Dennis Fukai and Barbara Fukai offers a detailed and three-dimensional presentation of home construction. Learn more about How a House is Built on their website.

India Tour. In January I completed a second visit to India (from December 25 to January 15). This second trip offered an opportunity to learn more about housing and urban planning issues. I encourage you to read my full report if you didn’t yet get a chance to do so before. During this trip, I learned about a planned community called Lavasa.

Radio Interviews. Audio is now available for recent interviews with Gregory Johnson on ABC News Australia (includes Jay Shafer), National Radio in Ireland, Iowa Public Radio Book Reading/Interview, and Public Radio Interview with Ben Kieffer from February 2007. I hope to have more audio available in December.

Website Redesign. The Small House Society web pages have been significantly upgraded with new navigation links at the top of each page and the addition of a Facebook group.

Kiva Lending Team. Resources For Life now has a Kiva Funding Team. If you’ve not yet heard about Kiva, I encourage you to check it out.

Border to Border Tour. If you’ve not had an opportunity to visit the Border to Border Tour page, I encourage you to do so. The tour was an amazing success. Photos from the tour area now available. Many thanks to all those who attended the tour events and provided us with encouragement and support.

Thanks. I want to thank the global team of volunteers and contributors “behind the scenes” who help make all this possible. I’m very grateful to the many people who continue to uphold and advance the mission of the Small House Society. Thanks again for your support. Please let me know if there is any way that the Small House Society can serve you better.

Gregory Johnson, Facilitator
Small House Society

E-Mail: shs @ (without spaces)
Postal: c/o Resources for Life, PO Box 2717, Iowa City, IA 52244-2717
Phone: (319) 621-4911

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