Shoe box apartments

  • San Francisco is a desirable city and is facing growing pressure to provide housing for an influx of urban dwellers. The city currently has almost no vacancies.
  • The city is toying with the idea of constructing micro units for singles and couples to increase living densities without using more land area.
  • The housing units will be just bigger than a parking spot and a consequential effect will be de-cluttered living, with a lack of space forcing people to be choosy about their purchases.
  • With residents purchasing less it may be that apartment buildings provide communal ‘product libraries’ for goods that are expensive, take up space and are used infrequently for those who live in the micro-units to share.
  • It is argued that the lack of personal space will make communal spaces more important, fostering human interaction which may lead to the exchange of ideas and more innovation.
  • Following the downsizing trend, a house is being constructed in Poland that is only 47 inches wide and wedged between two buildings which is intended to be a space for visiting artists to stay and work temporarily.

The idea of communal product libraries is a potential solution for alleviating some of the issues caused by an influx of people into cities that are already crowded and space poor. What people will lose in terms of personal space will hopefully be counteracted by the perceived benefits of simplified living and the social interaction generated by sharing communal resources.

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About annaarathe

Research fellow, horizon scanning
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