Apr 25, 2017

One Big Home: A Baconbits Screening

Last weekend, our Baconfest Urban Film Festival made the big time.  

The New York Times posted an article about the Jane Jacobs film we were fortunate enough to screen as part of Baconfest 2017. It was one of the film’s first public showings.  In the article, filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer mentioned the limited showing of the film and referred to Baconfest. If you attended last February, you might remember he tweeted congratulations on our event. So we hit one of the world’s largest media outlets, which is very satisfying to all of us involved in producing Baconfest. 

In celebration, we are hosting another film, One Big Home, that has had limited release, on Wednesday, May 3 at our usual Dutton Theatre location. Please join us at our pop-up Baconbits,  a one-night-only unveiling of the film. 

I find One Big Home a really thought-provoking concept about the increasing size of houses and the dilemma it presents for residents and builders.  It is worth noting the facts about house size and how it has changed over the years, both in the number of bedrooms and square footage. South of the border in my last job, the numbers were staggering. In the 1960s, the average house size was 1,200 square feet. That increased to 1,710 square feet in the 1970s, and in the 2000s, all the way up to 2,330 square feet. For the first time in 100 years, the size started to drop after the 2008 recession, but as the economy picked up, the size started to increase again by 2011. Yet, those numbers are way below what you will see in our upcoming film.

In Canada, house sizes also increased steadily over the course of the twentieth century, but there are signs that this trend has reversed in more recent years. The average size of a Canadian house in 1975 was 1,050 square feet. In 2012, the Canadian Home Builders Association reported that new home sizes had decreased from a peak of 2,300 square feet (during the mid-2000s) to approximately 1,900 square feet on average. In Calgary currently, about 16,450 hectares of land consists of parcels a single family home, representing nearly 24 percent  of the total parcel area of the city.

Increasing house size impacts affordability. As the houses got bigger, so did costs, increasing 28 percent for single family houses, 43 percent for townhouses and 83 percent for condos (just before the 2008 recession in the U.S.). And the direct result is households paying way more of their income for housing. Where I was working in the D.C. suburbs, we saw a 22 percent increase in the number of households paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs.

While none of these statistics will be of concern for the folks building the homes in the film in tony Martha’s Vineyard, the purpose of the film applies across the landscape. We hope to see our Baconfest regulars next week and welcome all newcomers. See you soon.

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