by Mimi Zeiger

Rizzoli, $29.95, 222 pages

Could you imagine living in a small, environmentally responsible home, hut, cabin, tree house, or villa? How about a 43 square foot shed with just enough room for six vertically stacked bunk beds? According to author Mimi Zeiger, compact living is becoming a viable alternative to living outside one’s means. Whereas owning a single-family home used to be a symbol of the American Dream, it is now a factor in the economic uncertainty many homeowners are facing.

Micro Green: Tiny Houses in Nature documents thirty-six small buildings around the world, their architects, and their owners. For example, in Thailand there are six 70 square foot small dormitory structures, each housing six refugee children fleeing from Burmese persecution. These unique projects spurn excess and celebrate conservative, sustainable, simple living. Many of them are moveable, built on wheels to take advantage of the sun’s orientation or a nomadic lifestyle. The color photographs of each project capture the beauty of the tiny house movement. Some of these small scale homes seem very livable. Others seem like they would be too small to breathe in, let alone live in. But all are extremely innovative and creative.

Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin