Date of Award

August 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)




Donald W. Carr


aging population housing, container house community, mobile, tiny house movement

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities


On a daily basis, as individuals retire, they often reevaluate their housing needs as they search for opportunities to accommodate their new lifestyle. At the same time, the idea of doing more-with-less is becoming increasingly popular. Existing literature shows that tiny homes have been found to address the needs of a wide range of individuals. They also alleviate excessive construction costs and address the problem of mortgage /debt management. However, the current literature also shows there is a gap in that a large percentage of tiny houses have not yet been designed to meet the needs of an aging population. Some design issues that need to be resolved include providing comfort and universal access for a wide range of abilities which may change over time. If envisioned as modular living units within a planned community, tiny homes have the ability to support and maintain social interaction among residents and support a general sense of interdependence.

For this thesis, I’ve taken the position that design can do better to accommodate this ever-increasing segment of our population by making use of reusable shipping containers as an archetypal living unit. As part of a global transportation system, they offer a high level of mobility which, in turn, offers great potential to meet the needs of future living communities.

As a thesis investigation, my design solution strives to make up for the gap and cater to user needs. Through three generations of prototypes, communicating with professionals, and user testing, I’ve arrived at a final design solution. This work aims to develop a container house community that can accommodate the range of needs of older adults as their needs change over time.

Keywords: tiny house movement, container house community, mobile, aging population housing


Open Access



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.