One Big City Considers ‘Living Small,’ Could You Do It?

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.


Could you live in just 220 square feet of space?

That’s the new apartment size San Francisco supervisors will be considering dropping down building codes to when they sit down to a vote tomorrow.

Current regulations require newly constructed units to offer at least 290 square feet of space.

That smaller proposal would put an entire apartment in the space of most average living rooms.

“At my age, when you spend a lot of time at home, I couldn’t do it.  It’s too small,” said Darcy McNie.

Feeling the same?

Sacramento architect Renner Johnston will soon open the doors of a building with units close to the size under consideration in San Francisco.

Known now only as ‘7th and H,’ his project will make studio homes out of 320 square feet – complete with kitchen, bathroom, living area and one large mirrored closet.

While there won’t be amenities like a dishwasher here, Johnston says other building features will compensate for a smaller home sweet home.

“The way to accomplish a tight unit is to have some common spaces like a community room or shared spaces,” said Johnston, of Mogavero Notestine Associates.

These units will be mixed-use and priced according to income.

Some will be for those transitioning out of homelessness and some just for those who want to tap into that downtown vibe.

Still, Johnston doesn’t see this micro-model spreading across Sacramento.

“You can get a lot more square footage for less money in this region.  That’s one of the reasons that people come to Sacramento.  We don’t have the density.  That’s why you don’t see the high rises them do in San Francisco,” said Johnston.

But, some say such a small space would be just the stretch they need creatively.

“There’re things like Ikea that could really make it work out well,” said Corey DeRoo.

Critics of ‘living small’ say that the concepts marginalizes struggling families, while others believe if these kind of units keep people from being financially squeezed out of big cities, they’re an asset.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors will vote on making 220 square feet the new standard for the smallest living space allowable under city code.

That will be 70 square feet less than the current limit.

Don't miss

More Featured

Latest News

More News