Interior Design Program


Date of this Version



Hybner, Michele L. (2019). Tiny houses in metropolitan areas of Nebraska: seasonal or permanent living environments. University of Nebraska, p. 1-150.


A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College of the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Architecture, Under the Supervision of Professor Mark Hinchman, Lincoln, Nebraska, August 2019

Copyright © 2019 Michele L. Hybner


This study is designed to determine if tiny houses offer a viable seasonal and/or permanent living environment for Nebraska residents. Two objectives are used to assess the viability of tiny housing in this Midwestern state. The first analyzes the economics (demand, supply, and cost) of tiny housing in metropolitan areas of Nebraska. The second identifies barriers to occupancy of tiny houses in the state. The results of this research are significant because tiny housing presents a means to address the state’s need for more affordable housing options available to Nebraska residents. At the time of this study, 11.4% of Nebraska’s population lives in poverty which equates to over 200,000 people who are in need of affordable housing (Figure 1) (U.S. Census Bureau, 2017). Second, the most common housing problem in Nebraska is “cost burden.” A household is considered cost burdened when housing costs exceed 30 percent of the household income. “Approximately 223,685 households in Nebraska are cost burdened,” which represents nearly 1/3 of all households in the state (State of Nebraska, 2015, p. 32). Research methods are implemented to address study objectives. Data is collected through personal communication/interviews and a case study which includes site observation of three tiny houses in Nebraska. Research results suggest that demand for tiny housing in Nebraska is low while the need for affordable housing options is high. Study findings implicate that tiny houses are in short supply throughout the state; one tiny home is available per every 10,000 residents based on sample data included herein. In terms of cost, all the tiny properties in this study are below the median value of owner-occupied housing units in Nebraska.

In terms of viability of tiny houses in metro Nebraska, while these structures arelegal in the state, seasonal and permanent occupancy of these living environments is not feasible due to barriers identified herein. These barriers restrict the placement of both conventional and non-conventional tiny houses in metro Nebraska neighborhoods and communities. Difficulty in finding a location to build or park tiny houses is identified as the biggest obstacle to year round tiny living in Nebraska.

Advisor: Mark Hinchman