At tomorrow's Board of Supervisors meeting there's a proposal on the docket to change the city's building code to allow for the tiniest dwelling spaces in the country. The new micro-condos/mini-apartments would be 220 square feet, with approximately 150 feet of living space plus bathroom and closets. Currently the code allows for apartments to be only as small as 290 square feet, which you should know is pretty tiny already. Like, tinier than a New York apartment tiny.
The LA Times glibly reports on the proposal, noting that during his tenure as New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg has only signed off on 60 apartment units that were "275 to 300 square feet small."
Scott Wiener drafted the legislation, which sounds like it's being driven in part by developers like Berkeley-based Patrick Kennedy, who wants to build "thousands" of units under 290 square feet, and already has a SoMa project about to be unveiled full of 300-square-foot studios units. It doesn't sound like Jane Kim, whose district includes SoMa, is particularly excited about the change, noting that Kennedy's price per square foot is higher than most existing rentals, and that building ever tinier apartments isn't going to do anything to keep families in the city. Wiener and others argue that the smaller units would simply be more affordable to people as rents skyrocket all over town. Sadly, studio rents are now averaging around $2,000 a month, and these units would go for $1,200 to $1,700 a month.
A protest against "shoebox housing" happened last week on the steps of City Hall.
Sidenote: We once lived in a space that was billed as 325 square feet, but was really less than that because the square footage included the bed loft, so there are lots of ways to take 220 square feet and turn it into something about the size of a prison cell.