Those who know me (or read this blog) know that I have a bizarre obsession with the tiny house trend. Ever since I was a kid, I was fascinated with “little living spaces” like the insides of campers or boats or the homes I carved out inside the massive snowbanks in our Western New York backyard. Well, it appears the Providence Arcade, America’s first indoor shopping mall, has taken the concept a step further. The historic mall, originally constructed in 1828, had fallen on hard times like most of the malls in America, until a recent renovation repurposed the upper two floors in a unique manner. The second- and third-floor shops have been converted into tiny apartments just big enough for the belongings and budgets of recent grads and others whose housing needs don’t require a three-bedroom-with-den and sprawling screened porch.
The tiny, utilitarian spaces provide clean, convenient uptown living coupled with easy accessibility to the shops and restaurants on the first floor. Think about it—the residents have their own private spaces yet are surrounded by like-minded neighbors who they can meet downstairs for a drink, dinner, or a little shopping. The residents have everything they need, and the shops have a built-in clientele, even when the Rhode Island weather isn’t cooperating. I would have loved something like this back when I was footloose and fancy-free, and hadn’t yet accumulated years worth of “stuff” and pets and children all needing their own square footage.
Our country’s economy needs more innovation and less regulation, and the Providence Arcade is a brilliant example of both. Follow the link to read further and see more pictures.