Dr. Jeff Wilson is the "artist formerly known as Professor Dumpster." Actually he still likes being called that.
In 2014 the Huston-Tillotson Associate Professor of Biological Sciences turned a dumpster into a place to live...and he lived there for a year.
"I owned my stuff. It didn't own me. I spent more time outdoors and exploring the neighborhood, I had more disposable income," Wilson said.
Wilson says while laying in the dumpster and looking up at the stars one night, he had an idea.
"Hey...maybe there's something here. Maybe we could make something out of this experiment that could solve part of the affordability crisis that we face here in Austin," he said.
Two years later, Wilson is the CEO of Kasita -- a fully-realized idea that's actually happening later this year.
Kasita is a start-up. So they were looking for venture capital -- but....
"I'll just say that's going pretty well," Wilson said.
Basically what we're talking about -- a structure called a "Kasita Rack" will be built. The rack will hold the "Kasita Units" that will be stacked into it.
Wilson says the model in East Austin is 50% smaller than what the actual units will look like.
"It is a 320 square foot mass manufactured, pre-fab, high quality, but affordable housing product," he said.
And the units are mobile. So in theory, Kasita owners can move them from city to city.
"We will have a series of these racking structures that a crane will lift them in and can plug them actually into the structure," Wilson said.
Professor Dumpster says the beta version or "model 1" of the Kasita system is under construction now in the Austin area. It's expected to make its debut this fall.
From there, Wilson hopes to build Kasitas around the world.
"In the case let's say the city wanted to provide affordable housing to teachers and firefighters and police officers. Those folks could own a home and park it on city property so that we were insuring that those real foundations of what makes up Austin were able to afford a place to live," Wilson said.
Dr. Wilson says the Kasita units will go on sale this fall.
He's coy about how much they will cost but insists they'll be more affordable than what people typically pay for rent here in the Austin area.
And no property taxes...so in theory once it's paid off you just pay your utility bill.