What Is a Katrina Cottage?

What Is a Katrina Cottage?

A “Katrina Cottage” is a dignified alternative to the FEMA trailer. It is small house permanent house, which is safe, affordable and can be assembled quickly. There are many designs for Katrina Cottages, to meet a range of needs.

Architect and planner, Andrés Duany developed the concept for the Katrina Cottage soon after Hurricane Katrina. The first Katrina Cottage was designed by Marianne Cusato, this cottage, Katrina Cottage 1, is currently on display in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Katrina Cottages are safe and durable. They are engineered to withstand at least 140 mph winds and can be constructed with wood framing, steel framing or prefabricated foam-insulated panels, and are finished with fiber cement siding and a metal roof.

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How to Use a Katrina Cottage

The Village: Clustered together to make villages from what would otherwise be a little more than a trailer park.

The Out Building: Built in the rear yard of individual lots: Rebuilding a house can take months and even years, in the interim it is important when possible to get residents back on their own property. The Katrina Cottage can be built at in the rear of the property out of the way of the new house. Once the new house is built, the cottage can be converted into a guesthouse or studio.

The Grow House: The new house can grow out of the cottage itself. This can happen by building the cottage at the front of the lot and engaging the new house behind the cottage.

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The Evolution of the Idea

Affordable Housing: On the Gulf Coast and nationwide the cottages are attracting the attention of both individuals that need an affordable place to live and do not want to resort to a doublewide, as well as developers and municipalities interested in big picture affordable housing initiatives.

Elderly Housing: Cottages for elderly parents in back yards and adjoining properties. This is a market that doesn't want to maintain a large house, but wants to remain independent.

Resort Housing: Fishing shacks, ski cabins, B&B's, playhouse for children….

Incubator Retail: Retailers that lost their stores are ready to come back and are needed to jump start the economy, but the structures are not in place for them to return. We are developing models specifically for temporary retailers. This idea also expands nationwide; we have been contacted by several developers interested in using cottages to incubate their retail when the final structures are planned for a later phase of construction.

Just about every other use conceivable under the sun: Most people that see the cottages instantly say, “I want one for……” We have heard almost everything, college dormitories, military housing, homeless shelters, zookeepers' offices, etc.

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The Benefits of a Katrina Cottage

Safe and Secure Structurally: Hurricane resistant, built of materials that will last through storms as well as the hot and humid coastal climate. Cottages sit on a permanent foundation that will withstand most storms; trailers will most likely not survive a tropical storm.

Environmentally Friendly: The current standard for emergency housing, the travel trailer, has the projected life of 18 months. These structures were originally designed for weekend recreational use, not full time inhabitation. Once used, these thousands of trailers will contribute to the already overwhelming issue of landfill overflow. Cottages are built to last, in the words of Andres Duany, “The best way to recycle a 2x4 is to leave it in place.”

Creates Assets: Cottages add value to a property. The out building designs can be converted into guest houses, studios or even rental properties (The Gulf Coast had a very large rental market before the storm, most Federal money is being spent on home owners, leaving renters without options. Cottages as rental properties can help the homeowners get back on their feet with added income, while providing housing for a market that may not otherwise be able to return home.)

Builds for the Future: Some of the cottages are designed to expand into the final house. These designs are ideal for people whose insurance or Federal assistance is not enough to pay for a new house. They can rebuild one module at a time. This is also a good model for starter housing nationwide.

Brings Hope to People who have Lost Everything: The cottages were designed to be a dignified alternative to the FEMA trailer. One of the most common responses to the cottages from the people that have lost their home is that the cottages bring them hope for the future. Trailers are inhumane. We have the opportunity to provide more than mere shelter, we can provide pride of ownership and pride of place.

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