Exploring the relationship between visual preferences for tiny and small houses and land use policy in the southeastern United States


There is increased interest in accommodating tiny and small houses into urban communities. However, in many jurisdictions, current land use policy is prohibitive of very small homes. This research examines peoples’ perceptions of tiny and small homes at two case site locations that are crafting policy to accommodate small dwellings, in order to better understand preferences and community concerns related to the integration of these homes. Peoples’ perceptions are explored through the use of a visual preference survey (VPS). The VPS examines perceptions and preferences for the various ways tiny and small houses can be integrated into urban areas, and for several design aspects, such as architectural style. The results find preferences for how tiny and small houses might be sited and for specific design elements. For example, respondents at both case site locations indicated high preferences for tiny-house-specific developments, and for tiny and small homes built in a traditional architectural style. The results also find concerns towards tiny and small house integration efforts. For example, stakeholders expressed apprehension about how tiny and small homes may impact surrounding property values. The article examines how such preferences and concerns might be addressed in order to craft “best practices” in the development of tiny and small house land use policy.


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Document Type





Land use policy, Tiny house movement, Tiny houses, Urban infill, Visual preference survey

Publication Date


Journal Title

Land Use Policy