Imagine what the future holds. Years ago, if you told someone that we would have telephones small enough to fit in our pockets, are wireless and which we could use to talk to anyone anywhere, they would have said you are crazy. Yet here we are with our cell phones.  Nowadays, life seems to be all about making things smaller and more compact.  So, it should come as no surprise that the same philosophy would shift towards housing.

With the world population continuing to grow, it seems that tiny houses and micro-apartments will be the future of urban homes.

What is a Micro Apartment?

A micro apartment or micro flat is, as the name suggests, a small apartment which is a one room, self-contained living space, usually purpose built, designed to accommodate a sitting space, sleeping space, bathroom and kitchenette. In some cases, residents may also have access to a communal kitchen, communal bathroom/shower, patio and roof garden.

Micro apartments are usually designed for futons or pull-down beds, foldable desks and tables and small appliances.

Why have we even considered making Micro Apartments?

That is a simple question with a simple answer, the growing world population. The world population has been estimated to be 7.6 billion as of March 2018. In 1990, the estimated world population was 5.3 billion; go back further to 1950 and it was 2.55 billion. With the world population growing so fast, is it any wonder that we are looking into ways to save space?

Where can you find Micro Apartments?

In 2014, the UN estimated that 54% of the global population lives in cities, which is why the micro apartment movement is of course more prevalent in cities. High-density cities like Tokyo,  London and New York, have been seeing an increase in micro-apartments for single and two-person households, especially among Millennials. Architects and designers are coming up with space-efficient solutions that include flexible and transformable furniture, automation, and 3D printed objects. Some developers are responding to this trend by building micro-apartment buildings for homebuyers and renters.

In fact, in Hong Kong, James Law Cybertecture has developed the “OPod”, a 2.5 meter wide concrete water pipe retrofitted with all the modern necessities. The “apartment” provides the bare necessities for an urban lifestyle. It consists of a folding sofa-bed, a number of storage shelves and a shower room with a toilet, a microwave and an air-conditioning unit.

The idea is that these OPods may be stacked on top of one another in under-utilized plots of land scattered around the city and can provide housing for people (at least temporarily).

Each OPod can be manufactured for as little as USD $15,000, and monthly rent could be as low as USD $410. That is an astonishingly affordable price when you consider the fact that the average rental rate for a one bedroom apartment in Hong Kong is more than USD $2,000.

You can obviously see the appeal.

So what does the future hold?

At the moment, micro apartments seem to be the way to go for urban dwellers looking for affordable housing. Whether this trend will remain permanent and we will see more of these types of apartments all over the world remain to be seen.