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How much space do you need?

Urban Capital has just unveiled its new Smart House condo project here in Toronto. With units starting at 289 square feet, the project is all about ultra-compact and ultra-smart living.

While micro-apartments are trending right now, they’re not a new idea. Architects have been fascinated by modular, adaptable and compact living for ages. Here’s an example of 100 square foot living capsules built in Tokyo in the 1970s.

Tokyo, of course, is a unique example. There you have the entire population of Canada living in one city. But that doesn’t mean that Toronto isn’t feeling the pressures of urban intensification. Apartments are getting smaller.

But the interesting thing about space is that it’s a relative thing. I personally live in 650 square feet and find it more than enough space. Though I also place a huge value on my time and try to minimize the amount of traveling I need to do.

And this is really the trade off you make with space. As you move further away from a city (and housing costs drop), you’re effectively shifting those housing costs to transportation costs. Which includes real costs like gas and time, as well as more intangible costs like quality of life.

However, I know many people that are willing to make that trade off for more space. But I wonder sometimes how much of that incremental space is necessity versus perceived necessity.

How much space do you need?

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