With the current popularity and media attention of “Tiny Houses” on the rise, this trend of mini homes is growing. Another trend we’ve started to see more of are tiny apartment units sometimes called “Apodments” that fit under the umbrella term “Micro Housing”.
These are tiny apartments that range from 250 – 400 square feet in size and usually feature a bed, kitchenette, bathroom, and have larger shared common spaces in the building. There has been a surprising amount of controversy surrounding these little dwellings, as well as speculation regarding the effects they could potentially have on the neighborhoods and cities in which they are built. We’ll list some pros and cons in this article, and leave you to form your own opinion on the matter.
Affordability – Most of us know that when it comes to big cities that are desirable to live in, the available housing can be quite scarce. And what units there are can be incredibly expensive. This nearly rules out an entire generation of young workers from being able to move out on their own in the city without picking up a roommate or two. Micro units are highly affordable and open up a large number of opportunities for young professionals and others in similar financial situations.
Environmentally Friendly – You can reduce your carbon footprint by living in a micro unit. Smaller units equals smaller everything. Less building materials, less land. And many micro unit building adhere to strict recycling and even some compost guidelines. Yes, it still leaves an impact on the environment, but a drastically smaller one.
Location – If you’re looking for an apartment with cheap rent in a desirable city, unfortunately you may be stuck with some not so great, or even not so safe locations. With micro apartments, builders plan the buildings in extremely safe and desirable locations, usually right in the heart of downtown. By living micro, you can pay cheap rent while being a brisk walk from all the most desirable parts of the city.
Effects the Neighborhood – Obviously adding one to several hundred new residents, usually young adults, to a preexisting neighborhood will change some things. And not always good. Noise levels, crowds, and especially parking will change majorly. Many micro apartment buildings do not add parking facilities, so the already tight and limited parking situation of the city gets exponentially worse with hundreds of new vehicles now competing for spots.
Potential Effect on Rent – Though far more affordable than larger spaces in the city, the rent for many micro apartment units is still extremely high for the amount of square footage you are receiving. When you consider paying $900-$1300 for about 300sqft, the problem illustrates itself. Many are afraid that if micro apartments and their going rates become normalized, this will be the go-ahead for landlords of other building types to boost their own rent to a higher cost per square foot for their own units, thus having a negative effect on the entire scope of rent within a city.
Small Spaces Big Stress – It’s proven that being constrained to smaller living spaces can heighten people’s stress levels. Not only can it feel claustrophobic by literally physically restraining some movement, but your aggravation levels may rise as you’re forced to live near many other people who may create noise or have habits that irritate you. Not to mention needing to coordinate use of the shared community space with your community.
There are many good arguments to be made by both sides of the issue. And as our population continues to grow, the situation of housing is a conversation we’re really going to need to have. Do you like the idea of micro units and want to see more of them pop up in your city? Or do you want this to be a trend that fades away as quickly as possible?