May 6, 2016

"Some humans are optimized for small spaces, and I am one of them. Perhaps you are, too."

"Here’s an experiment to try. Find the square footage of your home and calculate how big it is in units of you. I am 5-foot-4, and my current apartment is 320 square feet. Therefore, my current apartment is 3 x 3.75 Mollys. I wonder if there is a golden ratio at work here — a crude logic behind our spatial preferences. As a compact and rectangular human, I gravitate toward compact and rectangular shelters. Ranch houses make me feel diluted. When I walk into a spindly Victorian, I feel as though someone is tightening my corset. My first thought upon entering any dwelling more than 6,000 square feet is 'Nobody will hear my screams.'"

Writes Molly Young in "Letter of Recommendation: Tiny Spaces."

27 comments:

rehajm said...

I'm pretty sure a dog wrote this...

tim maguire said...

Ummm...unless she's 5'4" wide, shouldn't she be talking about cubic feet? Unless she has really high ceilings, in which case...no, there's no way to make this make sense. rehajm is probably right.

Eric said...

Now I know that a second-generation special snowflake can be even worse.

Fred said...

No, she gives the size of her living space in square Youngs; a length times a length.

MayBee said...

Perhaps she is agoraphobic.

Jon said...

From the numbers it would appear that her apt is 16x20 feet, so (3x5'4") x (3.75x5'4"). BFD.
What a ditz.

GAHCindy said...

I'm five feet tall, and I like my big, big house, so I'm calling bs on this one.

GAHCindy said...

Then again, I see she said "some humans", not all. So I guess I'm not optimized. Hrm.

holdfast said...

So she has a psychological condition and can't do math. A perfect avatar for distaff Millenials.

Bill Peschel said...

Small-minded humans need small houses.

I also prefer room to move about easily and wonderful vistas.

I am large. I encompass multitudes. Plus 8,000 books.

Carol said...

When I was at PCC a guy in class invited me to his house. It was one of those huge mansions in South Pasadena. I think his family were caretakers. Most the furniture had dust covers. I thought a house that big should be full of people. Actually back in the day it probably did have a stream of visitors, plus servants. As it was, it was very creepy. You'd need a large ego to think you need that kind of space by yourself.

My favorite house was my first, which was less than 550sf. It had a fenced yard and a garage. God I loved that place. Our current house has 2400 which is way too much. It creeps me out. I'd like to have someone else living there, if there weren't so many weirdos, fuckups and messy pigs to choose from.

damikesc said...

Sounds like justification exercises for poor decisions.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

One of the oddities about human beings is some look up at torchères while others look down at them.

BrianE said...

I think she may be on to something. Little people are optimized for approx. 320 sq. ft. So it would be optimal for a family of 4 little people to live in a 1280sf house.
If 5'8" is the mean, then extrapolating would be 336sf/person. So the optimal space for a family of four average people would be 1344sf.

Now my family of four averaged 5'10", so the optimal space for my family would be 349sf x 4=1400sf.
Nope she's wrong, because we have a 1700sf house.
Or maybe all this time we have been occupying more than the optimal space.

Should I feel bad?

Hmmm, I wonder if at some point there will be space police writing tickets for taking up too much space.

Bruce Hayden said...

My guess is that we are at a 250/1 ratio in one house, and 150/1 in the other. Seems about right, but does seem a bit much, if you add the two together. Of course, that includes the garages, so it really isn't that bad. We like bigger houses, because we can live our own lives without being in each other's face, but then I can be there when she needs something (like getting the TV working right just now).

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I haven't read the article; how many words did it take to express the idea that people have different preferences and make choices based on those preferences?

BrianE said...

Has anyone calculated the carbon footprint of non-optimal living cubicles?

Not just the construction, but the maintenance heating/cooling? Do you have no conscience. Don't you want to save the planet?

People, the time to act is now. Tear down those extravagances of American imperialism/white privilege. Board up those selfish spaces and begin to heal the planet, assuage your conscience, satisfy Gaia and experience non-shame. The planet will thank you.

Freeman Hunt said...

I am also 5'4". I have always preferred to spend my time in large, open rooms.

buwaya puti said...

I pine for colonnades, acres of verandah, a dining room for 50, a ballroom, a conservatory, a library with many rooms, a smoking room, a dozen servants and a place to put them.
I am a simple man.

buwaya puti said...

And, of course, a high, spacious balcony from which to harangue the devoted masses gathered in the immense plaza between the wings of my humble house, lined with tasteful statues of my illustrious ancestors.
Their representatives and the local notables may gather, in their dozens, at my informal levee that evening.
It's a scandal that such simple human needs are so difficult to obtain.

Amadeus 48 said...

Molly may be one of the rare people that would be helped by Freudian talk therapy. If that fails, there are always drugs.

mockturtle said...

I live in a tiny space. It happens to be on wheels. After my husband passed away I sold the house and bought a small 4X4 motorhome. My scenery changes on a whim, my solar panels keep the battery charged and I am free! My little womb-with-a-view suits me very well.

Sigivald said...

I wonder if there is a golden ratio at work here — a crude logic behind our spatial preferences.

No, it's just you.

mockturtle said...

In the interest of clarity, I should add that my motorhome is not four feet by four feet. It is actually about twenty-two by seven feet. The 4X4 refers to its four-wheel drive. In any case, it's cozy but totally self-contained.

mikee said...

Japanese residences have for centuries been designed around the standard size of a tatami mat, with rooms integral multiples of one mat in length and width.

I, for one, would rather use that venerable system to determine the space I need than this person's personal dimensions.

Now, if she were talking height of each room, and decided she could live with a 6' ceiling, she'd be onto something.

Christy said...

I know from experience that I need a lot of space around me as I move around my home. I become exceedingly irritable in small spaces. House sitting the ancestral home makes me amazingly happy and I think it's because the ceilings are high, the Windows are tall, and the rooms large. The size is just right. But is that because it was my home for the first 5 years of my life?

mockturtle said...

But is that because it was my home for the first 5 years of my life?

My father was an architect and I grew up in large, modern, open-space homes and lived in that type type of dwelling for most of my married life, as well. But I find myself very happy in my tiny abode. Maybe there's some psychological comfort involved but I chalk it up to mere simplicity of living.