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Kasita: tiny prefab home-as-a-service for post-land urbanism

Professor Jeff Wilson wants to create the “iPhone for housing”. He thinks we need to shed our preconceptions of housing as dependent on land and instead consider his plug-and-play shelter.

His Kasita units are not just tiny homes- the prototype is 208 square feet-, but they fit onto a “rack” to become part of “a vertical, high-end, design-yet-affordable, urban trailer park”. “Think about an RV park”, explains Wilson, “it’s a vertical way to do that: so you own your RV and you park it in a slot, this is a structure that these can go vertically.”

Born into the zeitgeist of the Tiny House Movement, Kasita goes far beyond size with its housing-as-a-service. “The problem with tiny houses is the coding, the permitting and the land. And the land’s the most difficult issue to solve because the folks who usually have the land are not the folks that need affordable housing. So our model allows the folks that have the land to highly monetize that land while providing home ownership to someone.”

The Kasita is built according to international building code and the unit and rack structure is zoned as multi-unit housing. Kasita, according to Wilson, isn’t a real estate firm, but a product company. They’re not just selling their “iPhones for housing”, but they’re selling the racks so anyone with a bit of land can create their own “vertical, high-end, urban trailer park”.

If Wilson and his team can sell enough racks around the country, these modular units could become truly mobile: the idea is, in the future, owners could request a move via an app on their phone.

“So folks aren’t going to be flying around all the time in their Kasitas, but in 5 years let’s say you want to move your Kasita, we can pull you out of that rack, put you on an 18-wheeler truck and move you to another rack or put it in a backyard. So you’re no longer bound to the land that you own your house on and we think that that’s the way that the world is moving.”

Wilson was inspired to attempt to revolutionize housing while, as a college professor, he tried living in a 33-square-foot dumpster for 10 months. In 2016 he built the prototype and later this year he plans to launch the 320-square-foot production model at 3 locations in Austin. There will be an option to rent or buy and while Wilson hasn’t released the price, he says it will be affordable even to a barista.


  • Pingback: Kasita: Smart portable prefab is swappable, affordable "iPhone for housing" (Video) – Treehugger()

  • Tamra

    Lovley/refocuse. Affordable housing and living within ones means. Alows one to focus on what is most important. Everyone diservs a roof no matter what your wage. Refreshing concept.

  • Panama Russell

    Well built. Suggestions – seating/storage in front of the glass cube, extend the height for more storage (possibly a short closet) and a safety railing for the glass cube. Curved glass desk (so not to disrupt the openness of the cube) or glass dinning table attached to the cube walls is a two fold addition. If I was sitting in the cube working on my desk top or lap top (speaker wires …..), unless everything is wireless there are going to be wires and cables everywhere. A stainless tube to feed everything into, hiding the ugliness and directing them to plug-ins would be an advantage. Dump the dishwasher, not big enough to fit much that cannot be washed by hand and replace it with freezer or pull out garbage canister (place is small, sitting in trash is unattractive) and enlarge the refrigerator. The seating in front of the ingenious bed makes my back hurt just looking at it. The area is great for storage, but remove the padding on the wall for a flat TV space and increase the height of the storage area. Seating, can’t remember where I’ve seen them, but folding leather lounge chairs (when bed is pulled out) are available and very comfortable. I just installed a shower door during my bath remodel and it matches the one you aired. Great choice. There is room for a cabinet under the bathroom sink. Grammy wants to retire to an acre in the quite mountains, this would be perfect and the first I’ve considered. When will the 320 sq. ft. model be out and is there any outlook on a
    production date?