November 1, 2011

Are you part of "the technocrati generation that uses the city as its living room and kitchen..."

"... and goes to practically a dorm room to crash at the end of the day"?
In cities, modules can be stacked to make a new generation of efficient buildings. At Zeta headquarters, architect Taeka Takagi rolls out a blueprints with one of Zeta's prototypes.

"It is a micro studio," she says. "The units are under 300 square feet."

66 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Down sizing indeed!

What are the designs of space use by inmate populations in the Federal Pens?

They are a match.

Bob_R said...

Welcome to the Caves of Steel. Asimov's ghost is smiling.

traditionalguy said...

These are the same minds that gave us "renewable energy" that maybe works while the sun is up on clear days and the trade winds keep blowing without calm days. In other words the are nearly useless .

The oil, coal, and gas awaiting extraction in known reserves are never going to run out, you blind fools.

Go live well. and leave the Guilt Industry to the religions who know how far to take it.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

That sounds terrible. How do you get comfortable? How do you relax with a family? Perhaps we're not supposed to have loved ones who share our homes, just general acquantances in the "city."

- Lyssa

ricpic said...

But Lisa, the family is so 19th century.

ricpic said...

Oops. Lyssa not Lisa.

Pastafarian said...

300 square feet would be plenty of room for a single person. I lived on a porch one year going to college.

Maybe I should right that on a piece of cardboard and pose next to it with a sad puppy-dog face.

Pogo said...

Drones to their beehive hexagonal cells.

Stacked cordwood.

Everything in its right place

They watched Metropolis too many times, and drew the wrong conclusions.

MadisonMan said...

Why do you need a lot of space to mingle/relax with family? When mine comes to visit, we all end up in one room anyway (usually the kitchen).

Paul Zrimsek said...

When I were a tweener, we were so hip we 'ad to go live in shoe box in middle of road. But tell that to your old people today, and they won't believe you.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

How do you get comfortable? How do you relax with a family?

How do you have any privacy or personal space. I love my husband but sometimes we want to be alone, doing things in separate spaces.

Even just taking an afternoon nap. How could you do that if you were crammed into such a small area with someone else who may NOT want to nap.

What if you have hobbies or artistic outlets that keep you sane? Where do you do those things in a 300 square foot space where you also sleep, eat, cook and bathe?

It would feel like a jail cell to me.

Scott M said...

But tell that to your old people today, and they won't believe you.

I just listened to that bit yesterday on the way home.

"We used to live in a box."
"Cardboard?"
"Yes."
"Luxury."

PatCA said...

"Population experts are concerned..."

Nothing good will come of that.

TosaGuy said...

Several thoughts:

City planners and progressives used to be against tiny, closely packed living conditions (tenements) because it essentially was inhuman to live that way.

Building small homes on an assembly line isn't new. Trailer homes are built that way. Essentially, these are trailer homes with granite countertops and bamboo floors.

The unconsciously ties energy use to birth rates, but the countries that use more energy have barely sustainable birth rates. Low energy use countries have the high birth rates. Want less people...use more energy.

Do you really want to plan your city and its economy around hipster douchebags who only want to live in a crash pad and spend their money eating out every night. Sounds like a recipe for more wealth segregation in cities.

t-man said...

Little boxes, little boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All go to the university,
And they all get put in boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.

MadisonMan said...

What if you have hobbies or artistic outlets that keep you sane?

Presumably you're doing that out in that big city you live in and use as a living room and kitchen.

TosaGuy said...

Also, the most sustainable home is one that is already built. More energy is saved retrofitting an existing large home into a duplex than building one new house-in-a-box.

Scott M said...

Do you really want to plan your city and its economy around hipster douchebags who only want to live in a crash pad and spend their money eating out every night.

You can NOT raise a family that way. My wife (who works right smack dab downtown near Busch Stadium) and I would love to live in the city. There are really nice places that are affordable but;

1) No grocery stores, other than a couple of corner boutique-style places that cater to the aforementioned douchebags, have survived in the downtown area. Everyone that lives downtown has to do their grocery shopping in the burbs or the extreme edges of south and west city.

2) The public school system is...you guessed it...complete shit.

3) There's little to no place to take your family nearby that's got much in the way of green growing things...unless you count the nice long grassways that run down Market through the middle of town. These are excellent parks that are constantly camped by vagrants and homeless that the STL police seem helpless to prevent.

I live further out than I would like owing mostly to deciding on more house for the money. However, we have excellent public schools, there are five grocery stores along with countless gas stations and such within three minutes in any direction, and there are safe, homeless/vagrant-free parks literally everywhere.

Tibore said...

From the linked article:
""The population all around the world is moving toward the cities," says the former real estate executive. "Land is a vital resource, there's not a lot remaining..."

Da hell? Even if you eliminated uninhabitable zones (like the Antarctic regions, as well as mountains, etc.), this is a demonstrable lie. There may not be a heck of a lot of desireable land left, but that's not what this "former real estate executive" was saying. Average world population density is about 100 people per square mile, that figure obviously having some extremes (cities, for example, end up in the thousands-plus). And that's far from being at the point where anyone can defensibly make a statement that humans are near the end of having land available. That's like taking a hundred mile road journey and saying "we're running out of trip" after just the first 10 miles". "Running out" implies that you've nearly exhausted the capacity. Which is a different judgement than "finite but still available".

Maybe I'm being too harsh on the guy, because there are multiple factors to take into account: Land must be available for food cultivation, for example. But still... it drives me nuts to hear self-appointed eco-geeks talk as if there's almost no room left on Earth. I know that the human population is expanding fast, I know that there will be factors in areas that don't apply in others (for example: Water issues in underdeveloped countries), but the notion that mankind has exhausted their space is ludicrous. That humans are not using it efficiently at all is a legit argument, but "running out of space"... that's ignorant.

Hagar said...

Do any of these people understand that we also need reasonably fresh air to breathe?

TosaGuy said...

"What if you have hobbies or artistic outlets that keep you sane?"

I do rent out a 450-square foot crash pad, but I also provide a yard, garage and a basement room for that very thing.

Pogo said...

"the technocrati generation that uses the city as its living room and kitchen..."


They can also use the city as the toilet, a concept already proven by #OWS.

Hagar said...

Also that we are "running out of water."

It is going to get more expensive to recycle water, but there won't be any less of it.

Revenant said...

This is pretty silly. Houses don't take up much space and are made of materials that are either effectively unlimited (concrete, rock) or renewable (wood). Even if the world's population was 50 billion, there would be no reason for people to live in these postage-stamp houses.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Average world population density is about 100 people per square mile,

Population density in the general area where I live---8 people per square mile.

Lots and lots of land available that is usable, except that it is mostly owned by the Federal Government and purposely kept vacant and restricted to access (roadless ruling) by the public.

traditionalguy said...

The "running out of land " scare only works on crowded city dwellers like Central Park West media writers and Philosophers.

The minute they leave the city and travel across vast open lands, they must either close their eyes or refuse to believe the truth they are seeing.

But how stupid do they think we are. Pretty stupid if we let them plan a single thing.

LordSomber said...

"One cubic centimeter cures ten gloomy sentiments."

- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

TosaGuy said...

Scott M hits the nail on the head when he talks about public schools. Nothing moves middle class folks to the burbs as routinely as their first kid's impending fifth birthday. Orienting your city to people who don't care about raising families is suicide.

Andrea said...

I used to live in a 285 square foot studio. But I'm single. And it had a kitchen and even a little garden space in front. Those tiny homes are fine for a single person or a young couple just starting out, and maybe even if they have one kid, but it's ridiculous to think that any family larger than that can be fine with such an arrangement. At least American families, who are used to larger homes and more space.

But these people are obviously not thinking of families. They live in a bubble where the only people that matter are twenty-something just-out-of-college upper-middle-class people who are still single.

As for there being "not enough living space" because we're going to have seven billion humans on Earth, I've been hearing that since I was a kid and it was the horrid specter of three or four billion that was going to have us all standing on each others' shoulders and eating Soylent Green. Any drive across the US, with it's vast areas of empty land, should cure this nonsense, but some people are blind because they refuse to see.

Carol_Herman said...

Japan is an island. The Japanese really use less space. The same is true in Hong Kong. Every nook and cranny is lived in.

You might also notice the people, generally, are smaller.

As to the pretty cubed effect ... there are still lots of problems to solve. What happens when a great wind comes? And, these homes topple down?

Yes, then it means you have to go in and do some dramatic rescues. Followed by massive cleanups.

But if you think that it just stays pretty, you'd be wrong.

The other thing I noticed?

Let's say "reproductively" we "explode the billions and billions in population's size." Wouldn't that by definition mean women would produce lots of offspring? And, then many would die in childbirth?

For every advance, there are steps that go backward.

And, if families grow larger, by definition they'd need more space. At least at night when people looked to lay down to go to sleep.

Stupid people will have more babies.

Smart adults seem to share a common characteristic of producing smaller size families.

We're also going to have to cope with Islam. Where children are produced and taught to become bomb carriers. If you're response to this is meek, guess who takes over?

Andrea said...

Argh, "its vast areas of empty land." I need more coffee.

Henry said...

I think there's a happy medium. Many of the houses in my neighborhood were fairly small when first built. One bath. Small kitchen. Detached garage too small for a modern car. I measured my kitchen counters for a remodel once and realized that anything bigger than a motor home sink wouldn't fit.

You can walk through the neighborhood and spot the add-ons -- expanded first floor kitchen, new second floor master bath -- now two generations old.

We like being part of the city. We don't use the city as a living room and kitchen, but we use it as a playground. There are two parks in walking distance and half a dozen in a short drive or on the bus route. The public library is in walking distance. Coffee shops, restaurants, and an Indian grocery are in walking distance.

We own one car. I bike to the gym and to work. I bike my four-year-old to pre-K in his iBert kid carrier. When the weather is bad everywhere I need to go is on the bus route.

Eventually the horrible public schools will drive us out and we'll become a two-car family and I will hate that.

Lucius said...

So it begins . . . .

I've long considered Apple the vanguard front of a Gramsci Project conspiracy to force people to live in cramped, fiat-imposed govt. tenements.

The rationale will be: 'what do you need with space? You have no *belongings*! Why, everything you could ever want is on your i-blank."

Crouch, slaves, crouch. Crouch in one room and don't even look at each other. Just stare at your itty-bitty screens . . . .

Scott M said...

Argh, "its vast areas of empty land." I need more coffee.

"She beautiful. She rich. She's got huuuge....tracts of land."

John said...

I could live in 300 square feet. I don't know that I would want to and I don't think I could do it unless I were single.

I know lots of people that live on boats that are probably less than 300 square feet. They do this with spouses, children, dogs etc. I don't see how, but they do.

On the other hand, why bother? Housing is cheap enough and there is plenty of space in the world. Why not be comfortable?

FWIW: You could take every one of the world's 7 billion give them 1/4 acre each and you would just about fill up Texas.

John Henry

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Henry

You like being part of the city, and I appreciate that you do because I don't like being part of the city.

I appreciate what the cities have to offer when I go to visit or to shop. We need the cities. You need the rural areas too.

I would hate to live where you do.....and you would probably hate it here.

It's OK. We are all different and your choices are yours....mine are mine. I don't demand that you live like I do....and I hope that you don't demand that I live like you.

We should all be able to live where we like and in the environment that we like.

HOWEVER, The government is trying to squeeze the rural and suburban lifestyle by artificially increasing energy costs and trying to social engineer us all into the cities. These little boxes stacked on boxes are just a part of the engineering.

They want us all boxed in because it is easier to control a contained population.

John said...

I should probably go read the article to find out but I gather the guy is Japanese.

Japan will solve their housing problem in the next 10 years, though it will not be pretty.

Their population is dropping. Not growing more slowly, dropping as in less people this year than the year before. That years was less than the year before that.

It will start dropping really quickly in the next 10 years as the elderly die off.

So, plenty of vacant housing for everyone.

No need for 300 square feet.

John Henry

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I should probably go read the article to find out but I gather the guy is Japanese

He is manufacturing those modular houses in Sacramento California.

John said...

I love living in the Midwest... my 2-bedroom apartment has somewhere around 850 square feet. I contrast that to the "apartments" that people are checking out in Europe on House Hunters International (HGTV), and I shrug my shoulders. I simply cannot understand how they can get excited about a 200-square foot hole in the wall just because it's in Paris.

Scott M said...

I simply cannot understand how they can get excited about a 200-square foot hole in the wall just because it's in Paris.

Let's be fair. In Paris, they don't require a lot of extra room for things like deodorant, soap, or showers cluttering up their flats.

MadisonMan said...

FWIW: You could take every one of the world's 7 billion give them 1/4 acre each and you would just about fill up Texas.

Especially this year, I have to ask, where would they get water?

John said...

Or, if you put the 7 billion in Texas, roads, parks, stores, work and so on.

It would be pretty unlivable.

I just like it as a metaphor for how uncrowded the world really is.

John Henry

John said...

DBQ got me to go to the article and then to the Zeta site.

I have to admit that the pictures look nice from the outside.

I was trying to download some floorplans to see what they look like inside and it keeps locking up Firefox.

I also could not open the main page due to "maintenance or overcapacity"

Thinking a bit further, perhaps they could be (maybe even are?) modularized by function.

So I might start out with a 300' studio module. As my needs increase and I get some money, add a kitchen/dining room module. Then maybe a module with a master BR and bath. And 2 additional BRs in another module as the crumbgrabbers come alone.

And so on.

If well designed, it might work.

I have no problem with 300 sq ft houses. *IF* you want to live in one. My objection is that this is made to sound like a good thing for everyone.


John Henry

Scott M said...

Especially this year, I have to ask, where would they get water?

An endless freight train of icebergs carved from Margret Thatcher's heart.

edutcher said...

Don't worry, the coming world war resulting from the coming crash will thin out the herd nicely.

MadisonMan said...

I hope I get put on Southfork. They have a pool

Peter said...

If you have to live on top of your neighbors then you'd better hope you have neighbors who respect your space. And it probably helps to have a more communal culture (think: Japan) rather than a more individualistic one (think: USA).

As for "using the city as my kitchen," that's fine if you want to live on vending machine and fast foods. Unless you have the money to afford the better stuff. For most of us without unlimited budgets for eating out, cooking real food at home will be healthier.

In any case, Manhattan may be crowded, but Wyoming is not. The USA is hardly running out of living space.

So perhaps the real takaway is, assorted "planners" think it would really like it if we'd live in this small-cube housing. And, when comes the revolution, we, took will like it. If we know what's good for us.

MarkG said...

As long as I'm not sharing a wall with a noisy neighbor, I could live in tool shed.

Freeman Hunt said...

If I didn't have kids, I could definitely live like that. With kids, I like to have my own space, and I like that space to be pretty big.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If you have to live on top of your neighbors then you'd better hope you have neighbors who respect your space.

For sure.

Having been to many motels and hotels, and lived in apartments in San Francisco and other urban areas, where the people upstairs or down the hall think they are the only people on the planet, you need to have considerate neighbors to be able to live in such close quarters.

Otherwise, you have people stomping back and forth on your ceiling (their floor), yelling at each other, talking loudly at all hours, humping and making the furniture in your room vibrate...thump thump thumpity thump, playing the television or music loudly, screaming kids running up and down the hallways, barking dogs that just won't shut the hell up, generally making you share every moment of their lives...... and the ever popular smoking and cooking stinky food odors pervading your apartment or room.

Oh yeah. Urban living at its best!

I think I'll keep the 8 people per square mile and the inconvenience of not having a great restaurant within walking distance. I can cook. Thanks.

jamboree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joanna said...

Is there enough storage space in these boxes for people to be self sufficient during an emergency? If there's a storm and the power goes out for a week -- if there's a situation where the city's businesses cannot provide for the box-dwellers -- will they be able to function?

I don't care if people prefer to live in boxes or open fields, but fostering dependency can be problematic.

Michael said...

If everybody lives crammed in cities in small spaces they are easier to handle. And easier for the super high speed trains to service them!!

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

Not for me. I need space to do stuff: house my tools, materials, and projects. Besides, my aura alone needs 3000 square feet just to breath and be seen in all it's glory. I suppose some people don't have all that, but that means they are just sewage producing members of the chattering classes.

What do they call these places where people camp in a concentrated fashion?.

Kirk Parker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kirk Parker said...

Joanna,

No, and no.

jeff said...

I could live in a micro house, but it's just me. And I would want it to be a stand alone with no neighbors on the other side of the walls, floor or ceiling.

"When mine comes to visit, we all end up in one room anyway (usually the kitchen)." So do we. But we go elsewhere to use the bathroom, do laundry, watch tv, sleep, etc.

"Especially this year, I have to ask, where would they get water?"

Everywhere else, I would imagine.

Larry J said...

When I was a bachelor undergrad, I lived in a camper with approximately 160 square feet of space for 9 months. It was small but it had everything I needed. I sold it and moved to a bigger place when I got engaged. There is such a thing as too much togetherness, even for newlyweds.

My wife and I are planning on moving to a much smaller home when we retire, perhaps 800-1000 square feet. We're looking at how we use the space we have now and designing our retirement home for small, easily maintained and efficient living. When you consider that it can cost $200 per square foot for new construction, eliminating unnecessary space can save a lot of money.

edwardroyce said...

""In many parts of the world, energy — and I hate to say this — is simply too cheap," he says."

This tells you the man is simple a complete and utter imbecile who should be taken out into the wilderness, shot with a 45-70 cartridge and then left for the damn hyenas.

edwardroyce said...

What precisely is the objection to people owning a large house or large space in a building?

What the energy to heat or cool the home? While energy use increases with technology and prosperity the overall impact of that energy use, in my opinion, goes down. There is a huge difference between a coal fired power plant serving 250,000 people and 250,000 people using coal to cook dinner.

Chip Ahoy said...

Have you seen the YouTube video called Life in a Day? It shows a single July day around the world.

It's long. An hour and 30 minutes. Gizmodo said the project had 80,000 user submitted videos, 4,500 hours of raw footage, 26 directors.

Starts out with people waking up and getting ready for a new day. Some people get up really early and perform rituals. Then most people get up and start doing normal things.

Then at the 9.40 mark the video stops flashing around and shows a Japanese man waking up his little son who is sleeping on a sofa. Apparently the mother died. One of the first things they do is the father leads the not-fully-cooperative boy to greet his mother in what a appears to be a Shinto ritual. It looks like the kid would rather not say hello to a photo but his dad makes him and he squirms off.

The tight space of their home is remarkable. The place is cluttered even the halls which makes movement through the place look tricky. It's not as tight as the pods in this article, but it does show space at a premium. The space is functional but in contrast to what we might imagine Japanese aesthetic.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"The planet may not feel any different today, but there are now 7 billion people on it, according to the United Nations."

Another example of a story that goes pfffft before it really gets started. Not surprising that it is a product of NPR.

Attributing feelings to Mother Earth is increasingly silly, and citing the UN is also a risky move.

Liberals live on and depend on so many memes, it must be difficult for them...I suspect they really do need the therapists they often talk about to keep it all together.

Seeing Red said...

Japan is an island. The Japanese really use less space. The same is true in Hong Kong. Every nook and cranny is lived in.

You might also notice the people, generally, are smaller.

-------------------

That was because of their lifestyle.


True story, when we were in Hong Kong, CNN had a story about the Japanese. After they discovered beds and McDonald's they grew, the average was 5'7", IIRC. It was almost 20 years ago.


If we ever get into North Korea, we will see the physical manifestation of deprivation. The compare and contrast will be very noticeable.

Seeing Red said...

My mom spent most of her youth in a 20x20 converted garage. 4 people. 1 room schoolhouse. And an outhouse.

Henry said...

DBQ wrote: HOWEVER, The government is trying to squeeze the rural and suburban lifestyle by artificially increasing energy costs and trying to social engineer us all into the cities. These little boxes stacked on boxes are just a part of the engineering.

There's some truth to this, but only if you ignore the "government" that doesn't. Portland, Oregon doesn't zone for Houston, Texas. The Federal government may be trying to artificially increase energy costs, but they are doing it mainly through ineptitude -- and without much success (look up "cost of electricity in real dollars"). In other words, they're wasting a lot of money without affecting actual costs.

Because most housing patterns are controlled by local zoning boards we can pick a township or city that makes us happy.