There’s a growing trend in the United States’ more popular cities that involves “living smaller” in dwellings known as micro-housing, i.e., apartments and other livable units that are smaller than 300 square feet. The U.S. may not be leading globally in the micro-housing movement; Japan and Hong Kong DEFINITELY has those top positions locked down, with much of Europe not far behind. However, the United States is culturally maneuvering in that direction as 28% of all American households were made up of single people (according to the 2010 Census, which YOURS TRULY participated as an enumerator, going house-to-house and meeting some, “colorful” individuals…). The question is exactly where in this country can you find the (legally) smallest examples of this growing (heh, play on words) trend?
Right now, Seattle, Washington is the country’s leader in micro-housing, as developers discovered a loophole in the city’s zoning regulations that allow them to build units much smaller than the typical Seattle apartment unit. That loophole counts kitchen — NOT bedrooms — when counting uniting unit numbers, so a developer can pack 64 individual living spaces into a building that would normally house 8 units by sharing the spaces of the bedrooms and the kitchen. The result could (at least in ONE example) lead to a single micro-housing unit to be as small as 90 square feet!
Fast-growing metropolises like Seattle see these extra-small micro-units tackling potential housing crises, helping densify its downtown area, and catering to a specific demographic that major cities are trying to attract. Cities like Seattle realize that eco-minded Millennials are flocking to city centers in higher numbers than ever, and when you think about it, they’re likely enjoying the little transition to building that feel more like the college dorms they recently left — plus, most of them don’t really NEED a full kitchen.
Remember, I said CITIES LIKE Seattle, because there other U.S. cities that are taking on and becoming part of this trend as well. Check out Gizmodo to find out the breakdown of what other American cities are also able to legally go small (in square-footage terms) when it comes to building new micro- housing.