Remember the “starter home?” It was a bungalow. Or a cottage? No, a rambler! I’m writing wistfully in the past tense because the starter home has largely disappeared.

This at a time when experts widely agree we need at least 6 million new homes to house all Americans? Yep. Because many cities and boroughs have made building small homes all but impossible.

The hardest project of my life was a 235 SQF “tiny home” on a 1500 SQF lot in Pittsburgh’s Garfield neighborhood.

I was attempting to build a single-family, detached home in a neighborhood with existing amenities and infrastructure. But the zoning codes as written originally left me with only 50 SQF to build on. 50!

I had to fight the zoning board and building inspector. I had to crowdfund the project (on of course) because I couldn’t get a bank loan since there were no comps. It was as if the city had intentionally designed the codes to make the unit economics of building a starter completely unaffordable.

Communities can change their zoning and building codes. And they should. Because right now we’re faced with a growing population of smaller families stepping into a housing market of ever-larger homes. This makes NO sense.

Change the zoning codes. Open up solutions for everyone.


👋 I’m Eve!
🌇 Rethinking real estate for good - better buildings and communities, for everyone
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