The Millennial Housing Lab redefines homes

Millennial Housing /lab seal. Photo by Millennial Housing /lab.

By Colin Daniels


Millennials are putting major life events on pause, like starting a family and even careers, by deciding to travel and see the world. Some millennials want a place to call home as well, but one that is just as mobile as they are. The Millennial Housing Lab is the place where millennials, housing and travel all intersect.

The Millennial Housing Lab is an action lab founded by Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School and Harvard Design School students with the mission of developing and realizing fresh housing ideas for a new generation.

Millennial Housing Lab's first Boston Getaway house in southern New Hampshire. Photo by Millennial Housing Lab.
Millennial Housing Lab’s first Boston Getaway house in southern New Hampshire. Photo by Millennial Housing Lab.

Their work focuses on all sides of the housing experience: architecture, neighborhood design, financing, regulation and community-building.

The lab focus on the issues of thought and action. For thought, they have discussions about housing situations for millennial through their blog and other social mediums and communication, events and other works. For action, they try to incorporate various forms of design, business and other concepts that have to do with housing for millennials.

When asked what sparked this great concept, founder Pete Davis said he “took a class on community in America” and noticed the “decline of community in America”. Davis also looked at urban cities and their role in shaping community. He mentioned how “we have to think about the urban design of our communities.”

Their latest project, called Getaway, which launched in Boston and New York, lets people experience tiny houses and be one with nature. Davis stated they “started Getaway to help build the tiny house movement: to get more tiny houses built and to get more folks staying in them.”

“Having a smaller living space allows you to be more open to experiences, and to really enjoy your day-to-day life,” said Hilary Lentz, 27, to AP News who is looking with her husband, Shane, to try tiny houses. “”It’s a way to test drive tiny house living,” Lentz told AP News about her experience with Getaway. The Tiny House Movement is a description for the architectural and social movement that advocates living simply in small homes.

In regards to neighborhoods,The Millennial Housing Lab’s Neighborhood Design team is looking for new, creative ways to design neighborhoods that have millennial wants and needs. Issues the Neighborhood Design team is looking to solve are concepts for communal living, technology, and sustainability.

One tiny house movement that the lab follows is in Portland, Oregon. Founded by Lisa Larson called Dignity Village, “a self-governed gated community”, which serves around 60 people a night—the city  tries to control the shelter by using tiny houses built mostly from donated and recycled materials. “There’s a real sense of pride here, a real sense of community that you don’t find elsewhere,” said Larson in an article by Yes! magazine.

Like Larson and Pete Davis, people are looking for new and creative ways for housing aimed at millennials and people all over the country.

About Colin Daniels 4 Articles
Colin Daniels is a current journalism graduate student at Emerson College pursuing his Master’s degree. His background is in communications and media relations. After graduating, Colin is looking to pursue his career in communications and journalism.