April 15, 2013, 2:57 PM  |  Business

Micro apartments with a floor area of from 220 to 300 sq ft are frequently suggested as a solution to Vancouver’s housing problem. Yet some people have taken offence saying that is far too small an area. Perhaps what is needed is a little comparative shopping.

Micro apartments are standard accommodation in many parts of the world. Apartments in Hong Kong, Bangkok and other parts of Asia are often smaller than 300 sq ft and house more than one person. In fact entire families can be crammed into very small spaces.

In North America San Francisco has approved construction of apartments as small as 220 sq ft. Mayor Bloomberg of New York has waived previous zoning restrictions that limited the size of new apartments to 400 sq ft. He also announced a city sponsored micro-unit apartment design competition for this summer. And Boston recently approved 300 sq foot units.

Here in Vancouver we see thousands of people who voluntarily stay in very small spaces. They are passengers on cruise ships. The average size of a cabin on a luxury cruise ship is only 275 to 300 sq ft and on other ships the cabins can be quite a bit smaller. Yet two people often share such a cabin for periods varying from seven to 120 days and pay a substantial fee for the privilege.

One last comparison. Three hundred square feet is more than 7.5 times the size of the 40 square foot locker-sized apartments recently described in Hong Kong.
Images: Siversea and Reliance Properties

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