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Wissenschaftliche Arbeiten über die Tiny House Bewegung

Master Thesis

Making the Tiny House Movement in Berlin

A Speculative Design Experiment of Reshaping Urban Space


The Tiny House Movement, despite the sometimes failing potentialities and shattered expectations, continues to have a future by continuously creating design speculations in the city like it has done establishing the Tiny House Ville: “The vision is for everybody. Talking about how we want to live." The Tiny House Movement with all its realized and yet unrealized potentials is one that never loses hope. 

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Study Project Thesis

Journaling as Method.

A reflexion of doing fieldwork collaboratively and an analysis of political activism and participation of the Tiny House Movement in Berlin

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The networking of the Tiny House Movement is part of the struggle for legal change as overarching goal but what comes first is that the networking and the journaling is a direct tool for being successfully participant in city politics. To increase the agency of the dwellers in Berlin is a change that the participants of the movement aim at with the Tiny Journal, on a tiny scale but with big hopes. 


Know more about the theses


Abstract Master Thesis

Themes: Tiny House Movement in Berlin, Tiny Houses, urban space, futures, method of hope, correspondence, speculative design, collaboration, experiments, anthropology-by-means-ofdesign, making, materials, growing, artifacts, sustainability, mobility, flows, creativity, responsability

Title: Making the Tiny House Movement in Berlin. A speculative design experiment of reshaping

urban space

Research question: Do the Tiny House Movement’s speculative design experiments in-the-making have the potential to reshape urban spaces and if yes, how is the space re-made and what are the movement’s hopes and challenges?

Research interest:

This master thesis is going to explore the practices of making of the Tiny House Movement in Berlin as well as the practices of doing anthropological research by the means of design. The thesis therefore aims at analyzing how the movement reshapes urban space by the concept of mobility during a one-month exhibition of Tiny Houses on a parking space in Berlin-Lichtenberg. The hypothesis that the Tiny House Movement uses practices of making for establishing a certain experimental space that envisions forms of futures for the city that are speculatively designed underlies the statements of my thesis. Thereby, the assumption that design is more than just a performance of the agreement ‘form follows function’. Namely, as I presume in this work, and here I want to cite the authors Ingold and Gutt, I argue for ‘an open-ended concept of design

that makes allowance for hopes and dreams and for the improvisatory dynamic of the everyday, and for a discipline of anthropology conceived as a speculative inquiry into the conditions and

possibilities of human life’ (Gutt & Ingold 2013: 140-141). My thesis is therefore as much about the examination of the practices of the movement as about a reflection of my own practices of making the movement together with them by realizing the approach of anthropology by means of design which is based on the ‘method of hope’ and is experimental and improvisatory and makes the anthropologist working with materials of life, creating ‘a world that is perpetually under construction’ (ibid. 145). Consequently, with my thesis

I take up the challenge to make statements that go beyond description but are situated in the space between materiality and making. I will therefore connect my findings with the theoretical terms creativity, materiality, design, artifact and making suggested by Timothy Ingold and the concept of response-ability by Donna Harraway. Furthermore, I will connect these notions with the concept of speculative design put forward by the authors Armen Avanessian and Benjamin Bratton. Moreover, the object of this work is the contextualization and development of the Tiny House Movement originating in the U.S. and its contemporary state in Germany, combined with an examination of the lifestyle connected to it since it is intrinsically linked with its designs and

practices in a world of becoming.

Abstract Study Project

Theme: Design anthropological intervention and experimental collaboration with the Tiny House Movement, a field that combines dwelling with social and political engagements in city politics


Title: Journaling as Method. A reflexion of doing fieldwork collaboratively and an analysis of political activism and participation of the Tiny House Movement in Berlin


Research question: How can anthropological fieldwork be combined with design processes that, through the publishing of thoughts as political participation, strive for initiating transformative processes in the future and how are those processes imagined in the present?

Research interest:

Since the submission of my research design for last semester my research interest and -question have developed in a different direction. My research has started with the interest in the question, what kind of home culture it is that is in the making by experimenting with Tiny Houses in Berlin and in how far it creates alternative ways of living in the present. Yet, I was already interested in a collaboration with the field and to follow a design anthropological approach. I already intended to go beyond the description of the Tiny House Lifestyle and the Tiny House Movement and to follow a more transcendent and interventional interest in order to get significant findings about what kind of future the Tiny House Movement wants to create. The aim of my study therefore was, and still is now, to go beyond the description of the phenomenon by focusing on what is happening in between materiality and meaning, to regard prototyping as the link between thinking and building with focus on the thinking-part in Heideggers thoughts on his speech „Building Dwelling Thinking“. Therefore, instead of asking ‚what‘ the Tiny House Movement’s implication on home culture is, I am asking ‚how‘ it is imagining it and how anthropology can investigate in this design process that follows political ideas. A design anthropological approach is relevant to my research project because the context of my field site is one of intervention, it is conceptually open-ended and experimental and produces knowledge in co-developed and unanticipated ways.

Another question was: How can I as anthropologist, intervene in my field site and what would be my role as anthropologist in this process of intervention?

During my fieldwork at the two-month festival „Tiny Town Urania“ on the compound of the Urania, a cultural and educational association in Schöneberg, Berlin, where the building, prototyping, exposing, experiencing of, experimenting with and dwelling in Tiny Houses and the concept of an ‚open society‘ was happening, I was getting the chance to co-design the magazine „Tiny Journal“ and became its publisher. The design process of the magazine and the final content are the basis for my research question: How can anthropological fieldwork be combined with design processes that, through the publishing of thoughts as political participation, strive for initiating transformative processes in the future?


The Tiny House Movement has the political aim „to become active and to decide about the way they want to live in the city“ that is realized, in my case study, through the method of journaling.

What is the vision of the future for the city that is being prototyped and designed with Tiny Houses as artefacts as a device to ask questions about being-in-the-world?

Furthermore, my collaboration with the Tiny House movement is a device for reflection about the  possibilities of anthropology and anthropological research. 

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Interior Design Tiny House designed and made by myself. Photo by Author. April 2019

Meet Me at Talks

Vorträge zum Thema Tiny House Bewegung 



20. Tagung für Angewandte Sozialwissenschaften - „Nachhaltig Leben und Wirtschaften“ 24. Mai 2019

Thema: Soziale Innovationen im Alltag 

„Experimentelle Kollaborationen mit dem Tiny House Movement in Berlin – Tiny Houses als Möglichkeit für sozialinnovative Prozesse in der Stadt“ - Kiane Wennemann, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Das dazugehörige Abstract finden Sie, wenn Sie unter folgendem Link unten auf „hier“ klicken:



Vortrags- und Diskussionsreihe „WOHN-VISIONEN“ 19. Mai 2020

Thema: Tiny Houses - Selbstbestimmt und nachhaltig leben im Kleinsthaus. Vom „kleinen“ Glück und großen Versprechen


„Tiny House Movement – Potenziale für das Soziale“ - Kiane Wennemann, BA Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie, MA Europäische Ethnologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


Videos, Auswertungen und Zusammenfassung:

Tiny House Gallery

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