Book Review: The New Nomads


Review written by Brennan Conaway | Micro Structures


Filled to bursting with bicycle trailers, high-concept campers, floating homes and domesticated shipping containers, “The New Nomads” is a great big picture book for architectural adventurers and a celebration of “temporary spaces and a life on the move.”

More than an art book, a series of essays defines the “new nomad” as someone who “opts out of the conventional” and “wants to exploit a historically unprecedented degree of personal freedom.” Do you value experiences over material wealth? Work in the so-called gig economy? Dream of living on a houseboat on the Columbia, a mountain hut in the Cascades, a tiny home on wheels, all your possessions in one backpack? Are you keeping it weird? You’re a new nomad.


Confirming that Oregon is a hunting ground for these new nomads, the suddenly ubiquitous cartop tent (Le Tente) by local Portland “camp stuff” company Poler is featured, “like a snail that carries it’s home on its back…”

“The New Nomads” has other examples of West Coast transience, from Andrea Zittel’s ‘Wagon Stations down in Joshua Tree to Jay Nelson’s Camper Boat, last seen in a San Francisco surf shop. But much of this book focuses on European new nomads and what they’re making.

All these structures, inventions and creations are fun and inspiring. They’re the tangible expressions of our freedom of movement, our freedom of expression and our curiosity about the world beyond.