This article originally appeared in Force Fields, Feb, 19 2016
Much controversy has been generated by the recent development of micro apartments and tiny houses. These are smaller than normal living spaces, which in the case of micro apartments often means less than 300 sq ft. They have emerged as an option for environmentally conscious young professionals and students to live in parts of town where they would otherwise be unable to economically sustain themselves. The rent is just too damn high. A lot of people hate the idea of these micro flats.”How could anyone live like that?” some people wonder. “These new buildings are ruining property values!” real estate agents complain. If you have a family of 2 or require a lot of space for your hair dryer, I’m sure you’ve already concluded these little apartments are not for you. Not everyone needs or wants a lot of room though. Here are a few reasons why some of us(at least for a while) wouldn’t mind calling a micro apartment our home:
1. They’re Affordable
This is perhaps the most obvious selling point. In many thriving metropolitan cities, cost of living has long ago outpaced real wages. Places in the heart of San Francisco, Seattle and Portland are expensive and almost impossible to afford for many of the young single professionals work in the city. This tends to require people to make long commutes from far off suburbs or have to hunker down like turtles at the mercy of slumlords in nearby ghettos. That or they end up packed like sardines into an decent but “communal” apartment with bunch of random roommates of various quality and shadiness. Micro apartments allow you to sacrifice space for affordability, privacy and the chance to live in a small compartment in the best part of town.
2. Good for the Environment
No big surprise here. Micro apartment buildings are designed specifically to be energy efficient in all areas. From low-flow shower heads to compact fluorescent light bulbs, these were built for green living. The small area also requires less energy to heat, cool or light. There is so little to do in one of these apartments that unless you turn your room into a bitcoin mining outpost, it’s difficult to see how you could ever run up much of a utility bill. Also, the fact that you can live right where the action is(and likely close to work) means you’ll be using less gas and may not even need to drive an automobile at all.
3. Minimalist Lifestyle
One might think of the idea of being cramped in a tiny apartment as being a stressful thought in and of itself. Instead of falling victim to an anxiety induced cheek bite, chew on this for a second. when I look around at all the junk I’ve accumulated over the years cluttered about, it stressed me out. Life is one’s head is complicated and heavy enough without having a ton of crap in the physical world to weigh you down(and yes I realize that thoughts themselves are technically a physical manifestation, but you know what I mean.) I have fantasies about chucking all my material possessions and going back to basics. At one time I lived for 2 years in a small studio apartment armed with nothing but a $20 cot from Target to sleep on and a Super Nintendo for recreational activity. Those were simple yet carefree times. Micro apartments allow for this kind of minimalist lifestyle. Small spaces can be liberating after all.
4. The Views
Believe it or not, many of these micro apartments come equipped with breathtaking views. The units are often situated in modernist mini high-rise buildings. One of the rare features these units have is large windows. After all, if there’s not room to do anything else your apartment, at least you can gaze outside from the 7th floor and stare at the Cascades all day.
Brandon Adamson is the author of Beatnik Fascism