January 20, 2020

Tiniest Homes

Shoebox apartment in Hong Kong.

In North America, some say that anything less than about 1500 square feet is a tiny home. It's all relative.

In other places, even our tiniest homes look like mini-mansions. 400 sq ft? Luxury. 200? Room to spare.

The tiniest homes I have ever seen are in Hong Kong. Overall, the average living space per person there is 50 square feet, which would still be large compared to the smallest "homes" one can find there.

These tiniest homes are also called shoebox homes, cage homes, bed space apartments, or coffin cubicles. They are a "type of residence that is only large enough for one bunk bed surrounded by a metal cage". 

The tiniest are 20 square feet, and the worst are actual metal cages.

Coffin cubicles often have a communal bathroom and kitchen.
These dwellings are hot, stuffy, and cramped.

But its not just in Hong Kong. Anywhere where income inequality is greatest one will find all kinds of inadequate housing for the working poor.

In Banff, Alberta, Canada, the housing situation is so tight that workers there have been known to pay large sums to rent closets. No doubt these are the smallest, most expensive dwellings in the country. 

Coffin homes in Canada. 

The only way to get even tinier would be to have vertical "tube homes" where one jumps in and sleeps standing up. They could be marketed as square foot living, or "hive homes". 

Fun Fact: You could fit hundreds of thousands of hive homes in the world's largest private residence.

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