Making a clear contrast: “Micro-apartments: The anti-McMansions”

CNN profiles micro-apartments and frames them as the opposite of McMansions:

Move over McMansions: These days, pint-sized, micro-apartments are all the rage.

Typically ranging between 180 and 300 square-feet, these tiny apartments are becoming increasingly popular among the young-and-single set and even some retirees, seeking affordable places to live in the nation’s costliest cities.

Nowhere is the micro trend hotter than in Seattle. More than 40 micro-apartment developments have been built in the city in the past three years, according to Jim Potter, chairman of Kauri Group, a Seattle-based developer. Many of these apartment buildings offer shared patios, roof decks and even communal kitchens. (Zoning laws in Seattle allow up to eight apartments to share one kitchen)…

The key selling point is affordability. In Seattle, 250-square-foot apartments rent for under $800 a month, almost half the average $1,400 people pay for newly built studios of 400 square feet or more in the city, according to Potter.

The first comparison is not surprising: as McMansions came to be the symbol of large houses, micro-apartments are just the opposite. The whole unit is the size of perhaps a smaller owner’s suite in a McMansion and often features space-saving designs.

The second comparison is less common: micro-apartments are also cheap compared to McMansions. Particularly in the cities cited in this article, places like Seattle or San Francisco, affordable housing is in short supply. Micro-apartments may be small but more importantly, they give people an opportunity to live closer to work and in or near places they couldn’t afford otherwise. McMansions were also known for their price, or at least for the mortgages that owners had to take on. The comparison is not perfect since McMansions are assumed to be in the suburbs and less of an issue in the big city.

It will be interesting to see how this comparison plays out down the road. McMansions are a powerful symbol while micro-apartments are on the rise and still could change quite a bit as they grow in number and spread to more places. The article hints at one change: the micro-apartments might be popular with retirees. Such a development could set up some interesting stories of

2 thoughts on “Making a clear contrast: “Micro-apartments: The anti-McMansions”

  1. Pingback: Mid-century modern ranches as the anti-McMansion | Legally Sociable

  2. Pingback: Shaming residents in small housing units | Legally Sociable

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