Small May Be About To Get Even Smaller
Tuesday, July 10, 2012, by Philip Ferrato
This afternoon, ever-tinier legal living spaces are up for a vote at the (San Francisco) Board of Supervisors meeting. A modification to the building code sponsored by Supervisor Wiener (flying solo) would reduce the legal square footage for new construction rental units to 220 square feet, measured to the inside perimeter of the outer walls, and include a full bath, a closet, and a kitchen with at least 30 inches of counter space. No mention of a dishwasher or in-unit laundry, and presumably you get to live/sleep/eat/work/sex in whatever's left- which the new code would define as a minimum 150 square feet of the 220– about the size of a parking space.
The same thing was proposed this week in New York City, another town where rental units are both hard to find and expensive— a proposal similar to Weiner's except there's no closet and the minimum size is at least 55 square feet larger. In both places the current minimum is 450 square feet. The rationale, both civic and commercial, is to provide housing for young, transient tech employees who, as an alternative tend to band together and rent family-sized apartments, thus shrinking the pool of rentals available for actual families. or what one housing advocate calls "cannibalization" . . . .