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San Francisco approves tiny, 220-square-foot apartments

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How small is too small of a living space? In San Francisco, the answer is: tiny. And housing is about to get even smaller.

In an attempt to meet housing demand and increase affordabaility in one of the hottest rental markets in the United States, the city's Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to allow construction of apartments as small as 220-square-feet. Currently, the building code allows for 290-square-foot micro units. Initially, construction of micro-apartments will be capped at 375 as the city studies their impact and decides whether to allow more micro apartments.

With rental prices expected to be between $1,200 and $1,500 per unit, it's much more affordable than the $2,075 average monthly rental price for a studio apartment in the city. But will adding smaller apartments really create more affordable housing?

"It's not a lot of space for $1,500," Supervisor David Campos told the San Francisco Chronicle. "If 220 square feet is going to rent for $1,500, what does that do for the rest of the places in San Francisco?"

Expect cities around the world to keep an eye on how San Francisco moves forward with their micro apartments. Cities from New York to China are also looking to embrace downsized living spaces.

S.F. supervisors back micro-apartments [San Francisco Chronicle]

Photo: Flickr/Premshree Pillai

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— By on November 21, 2012, 5:38 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure