Jon Staff and I have been batting around housing ideas for a while now: urban dorms, tiny houses, modern communes, etc. Since we’re both going to be up at Harvard for the coming years, we decided to formalize this conversation into a real thing: The Millennial Housing Lab, an action lab with the mission of developing and realizing fresh housing ideas for a new generation.
Here’s our founding statement:
Millennials are living different. We are trading stability for experience. We are seeking community more than luxury. We are delaying marriage, career tracks and all other forms of settling down. We are putting in the work to actually realize the graduation cliches: following our dreams, building the future, living an authentic life, and having a purpose greater than ourselves.
If we want to keep living different, though, we’re going to have house different.The rent is too damn high. The community spirit we felt on our college campuses is much harder to find as a twenty-something in the city. Going off grid — let alone moving to a rural area — seems too out of reach. And a McMansion in the exurbs isn’t our style.
Fortunately, this mismatch — between our changing lifestyles and limited, outdated and expensive housing options — has led to a renewed interest in housing innovation. The tiny house movement has taken the internet by storm. People are startingurban dorms to keep rent low and community spirit high. Airstreams are making a comeback. Homeless prevention is beingrethought. We want to spur and organize such ideas.
The Millennial Housing Lab is an action lab founded by Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School and Harvard Design School students with the mission ofdeveloping and realizing fresh housing ideas for a new generation. Our work focuses on all sides of the housing experience: architecture, neighborhood design, financing,regulation and community-building.
We are a lab devoted to both thought and action. On the thought side, we aim to host a vibrant conversation about Millennial housing through our blog, email bulletin, events, conferences and publications. On the action side, we aim to incubate and launch various design-, business- and regulatory-related proofs of concept in the field of Millennial housing.
The first project of the Lab — Getaway.house, which helps grow the tiny house movement by building tiny houses, placing them on rural land and renting them out to city folk looking to unplug and test-drive tiny house living — launches this week.