Brainstorming the BackYarder

Last week we had a brainstorming workshop at C1 Espresso, Christchurch, to come up with ideas and features you would like to see in a self-reliant backyard micro-house. We are crowdsourcing some co-creation of this distinctly kiwi WikiHouse to best address people's needs and the most urgent housing issues we have in New Zealand. 

We put the call out to our Meetup community and brought together a small but enthusiastic group of local Christchurch citizens, along with pencils, paper and ideas, to join the discussion with their creative suggestions for small living and sustainable communities. 

The outcome of the morning was a load of great feedback and ideas which has been included in the design brief.

  • Sunny and light during the day.

  • Quiet spaces for reading or meditation

  • Multi-function spaces that are flexible in use.

  • Logical approach to use of space, creating degrees of privacy.

  • Sheltered outdoor areas for entertaining and relaxation.

  • Plenty of convenient storage space.

  • Places to dry clothes, inside and out

  • Desk for reading and working.

  • Use recycled materials, saving demolition material from landfill.

  • Be able to express individual personality in the design.

  • A building that is as self-reliant as a flower: takes energy from the sun.  

  • Simple and easy to see where everything is, yet uncluttered.

  • Adaptable living over a lifetime: a small house that works for 2 adults; or 1 adult + 2 children; or 2 adults + 2 children.

  • Potential for green roof and conservatory space for planting & gardening

  • Solar PV powered and very well insulated.

  • Lifemark accessibility for elderly or disabled by including wheelchair ramps and rails.

  • Other research sources to look into:

This will all lead into some early concepts for a relocatable, backyard WikiHouse design. We're doing things a little differently and trialling new ways of including the wider community in the design process. Loomio may be a useful tool for making these collective decisions on key design considerations and needs.

Thanks to all those who came and took part in this. We're planning to have these group workshops pretty regularly. If you're keen to be involved in the next event you can join our Meetup group here: