Saturday, September 13, 2008

Compact and bijou not he slums of tomorrow

Apartment PlanIn "Compact and bijou - the slums of tomorrow?" (by Ray Furlong, BBC News, 12 September 2008) the question is asked if small apartments will become inner-city slums. The issue here is not the size of the smallest apartment, but the mix of sizes and styles. I purchased a 64 m2 one bedroom flat in Canberra's "City Edge" complex.This is ideal for one or two people. This was built by a consortium of a non-profit housing cooperative and a developer. There is a mix of housing styles, from small 50 m2 bachelor flats (with an innovative sliding bedroom wall) to three bedroom family flats and town houses.

It is silly to suggest a mandated minimum size will somehow increase the quality of housing; all it will do is reduce choice and increase cost. What is needed is a mix of different sizes and styles to suit different families and different stages in life.

Other things being equal, the cost of building a home is proportional to the floor area. If the floor area was set by legislation to 100 m2, this would double the price of the smallest home someone could buy. This would not result in everyone getting a home twice as big, just in many more people not being able to afford any home at all.

1 comment:

Gye Greene said...

Japan is a good example: Lots of teeny (by Australian standards) apartments -- but some are quite fancy.

Small apartments don't **have** to be low-quality.