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Affording Compact Living

Compact living is a series on ultimate smart living, dedicated to interesting ideas and designs of small yet functional living spaces, tiny houses, compact apartments, mobile homes and space-saving furniture, quality facilities and design for such spaces.

Living in a small space is a growing trend these days all over the world. More and more people are making their choice to live in a dwelling with modest proportions.

Here’s why more and more people to move into a compact home:

Lack of space 😿

Young people in many areas want to move to the city, where the excitement is, and embracing this Lilliputian living is one way to afford it.

Real estate prices 👻

High real estate prices make it a necessity to live in a limited space, like if you want a place in the city and not the suburbs, cut down on debt or simplify your living arrangements with fewer possessions.

Affordable ownership 🙇‍♀

Some want to own an extremely functional home instead of having unused square meters that they need to look after, clean and repair.

For example, of all the EU countries, the UK has the smallest homes by floor area, with an average in 2013 of 93.6 sq. m, compared to the Netherlands’ 115 sq. m and Denmark’s 137 sq. m. 

Affordability of compact living 💵

The average size of new homes has continued to shrink. It isn’t an exaggeration to suggest that the housing shortage is one of the biggest crises many countries are facing, with an urgent need for solutions to tackle severe lack of high-quality,  affordable housing for city dwellers in particular.

Unaffordable land

Buying plots of land and the expense of renting in city-centre locations are pricing out. Besides its potential as a trendy living and leisure space, compact living is increasingly highlighting a social cause, as a relief for marginalized urban populations such as less affluent individuals, refugees, and the homeless. 

Projects like SHED provide compact living solutions for those who have a desire for urban living, but who cannot compete with market prices in gentrifying neighbourhoods.

Micro-condo – the bulk of these housing solutions tend to be utilitarian with little room for gimmicks but often incorporate some ingenious space-saving, where high-end finishing matters most.

Living in Box – Desperate times often call for radical solutions. One thing the world is not lacking is shipping containers. Using shipping containers for accommodation is a form of modular construction. Most of the work can be done off site, and then it’s simply a case of transporting the containers to location for installation.

Size Matters

Housing 🏠

Many local planning policies already require the Lifetime Homes standard in new developments, for example, the London Plan. It is also an existing requirement in Wales and Northern Ireland for new publicly funded homes to comply with the Lifetime Homes Standard.

Student accommodation 🏬

Student rooms are typically between 10 sq. m-14 sq. m. An increasing number of providers are increasing the size, introducing kitchenettes and working spaces with added facilities in the building, such as swimming pools, cinemas, and gyms.

Other providers offer bed space only, with greater shared spaces. This is all to compete in the ever-growing marketplace and offers vary with location.

Offices 🏛

Typically, to be BCO compliant an office needs to provide between 8 sq. m-13 sq. m per person in working areas.

In a nutshell, compact living presents itself as a relief in a time when cities are becoming increasingly popular and competition for space is driving prices up and people out. Not only is it a trendy solution for fortunate urbanites, but also for those at the lower end of the social ladder, to whom compact living can provide comfort and security. Today, compact living spaces don’t have to be cramped. Smart design and advanced technologies can make such spaces spacious enough for normal living.

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