San Francisco city chiefs vote to allow
20-square-metre "micro apartments"


San Francisco plans micro apartments

News: San Francisco city chiefs have voted to allow the development of "micro apartments" as small as 20 square metres in an attempt to alleviate the housing shortage in the US city.

Each of the proposed micro apartments will be required to have a minimum of 150 square feet of living space not including the kitchen, bathroom or built-in storage – but the kitchen could be included in the living space, say city supervisors.

That means the properties, which are expected to rent for between $1,300 and $1,500 per month, would be five square metres smaller than the micro-units recently proposed for New York by mayor Michael Bloomberg, and 50 square centimetres smaller than Vancouver's new micro-loft conversions, the smallest rental units in Canada.

San Francisco plans micro apartments

Above and top: images are from developers Panoramic Interests

City supervisor Scott Wiener has backed the reduced minimum size in the hope of lowering rents in the city, which currently average around $2,000 a month for a studio.

Mayor Edwin Lee is expected to make a decision on the legislation this month before the proposals can become law.

We've previously reported on New York's competition to design micro-units as well as plans to turn disused garages in east London into pop-up homes.

Other tiny properties we've featured include a 2.6-metre-wide guest house helicoptered onto a hillside in Switzerland and a quilted mobile home on the back of a tricycle.

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  • beclara

    Really? I’m designing a kitchen for this kind of small space. This one above is too big! Seriously, you should see mine. Hope these pictures are not the final design.

  • Andrew K

    This just pushes the constraints of the real-estate economies on the bottom. It literally squeezes those at the bottom while continuing the economically biased and perverse sense of preservation that is prevalent in the city. Rather than just squeezing those at the bottom of the what-I-can-afford scale, why not just encourage greater densification from the richest to poorest?

    The elite of SF continues to want its single-family row houses and resist the real need to densify.

  • SpyKap

    Horrible. There must be other ways of “lowering rents”.

  • Marvin

    Lower rents are available in less desirable areas. Supply and demand is at work here.

  • mmmm

    Another way of speculation: the half-size apartments will end up with the same rent as the bigger ones. No! The bigger ones will increase.

  • baudrunner

    But nobody *wants* to live in something that small. Shift the paradigm away from competing to see who can design the smallest living space, please!

  • Clud

    I don’t think this is too bad. No, this is not for everyone but many people would be happy living in places like this. Many people in Europe and in Asia live in very small spaces – smaller than this – and are okay with this.

  • Marc

    Here is a small apartment in Paris, around 16 square metres:

  • Seji

    Prisoners live in accommodation like this and don’t seem to mind it. But they have no choice.

  • $1500 is too high. There are small apartments in SF that share communal bathrooms that rent for around $700. If there is going to be an effort at creating micro apartments the rent should be comparable to these. Otherwise just get a roommate.