In cities across the country, the new trend in living is small -- very small. So-called "micro" or "mini" apartments, totaling an average of 300 square feet, are cropping up in Manhattan, San Francisco, Seattle and dozens of other desirable, but expensive, locations.
In cities such as Tokyo, where space is at a premium, the trend has taken hold. There are many reasons for the move toward extreme downsizing, but chief among them, according to experts, is the desire many single people have to live roommate-free. The other driver, of course, is soaring rent prices.
Preferences of the young and childless
Technology makes it easier to reduce clutter because so much can be stored on devices, including books, music and movies. Ryan Severino, senior economist at the research firm Reis, told USA Today that younger people are driving an "urban renaissance" because they want to live and socialize in the city. For them, space takes a backseat to location.
Builders and city officials have taken note. New York, Boston, San Francisco and Austin, Texas, are among the cities launching microapartment projects. According to USA Today, Austin is constructing a complex of 135 studios, each 400 square feet. Other cities are going much smaller. San Francisco, for example, recently approved a trial run of 375 microunits as small as 220 square feet.
Could you downsize and live in a space about the size of a one-car garage?
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