San Francisco Approves Nation’s Tiniest Apartments

An artist’s concept of an apartment. (Panoramic Interests)

has recently approved legislation that will change the city building code to allow for “micro-unit apartments” that includes only 220 square feet of living space. These spaces aim at providing affordable options for singles to live in densely populated urban areas without having to live in the outskirts of the city. Although more of a craze in NY, has actually surpassed New York as the most expensive rental market in the country. More information after the break.

The city already allows for construction of 290-square-foot micro-units. But Supervisor Scott Wiener backed the reduced minimum size in hopes that the apartments would rent for $1,200 to $1,500 a month, a steal compared with San Francisco’s current average studio rents of $2,000.

“To confront San Francisco’s rising housing affordability crisis, we must be creative and flexible,” Wiener said in a statement after the 10-1 vote. “Allowing the construction of these units is one tool to alleviate the pressure that is making vacancies scarce and driving rental prices out of the reach of many who wish to live here.”

The push to reduce the minimum-allowable size was criticized by affordable housing and tenants’ rights advocates, who said the “shoe box apartments” would do nothing to ease the strain on families and would push the city further down the road as a playground for young singles.

Courtesy of the LA Times

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "San Francisco Approves Nation’s Tiniest Apartments" 23 Nov 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • Michael

    perhaps something should be done about rental rates and not the actual livable area within in an apartment. I’m glad smaller apartments are allowed but really we are basically talking about a one room studio,even in NYC $1200-1500 a month for less than 300 feet for one person is laughable. Rental rates and the shift to “Luxury” housing need to be addressed if this problem is to be solved, not approving smaller apartment sizes.

    • Alex

      The issue is how do we address rising rental rates? There are few options. One is government funded affordable housing that goes vertical and changes the skyline. Another is capping the amount of rent a landlord may charge, which is an encroachment of private property rights that not even SF can tackle.

  • Winter

    No social rights, underwork, 25m2 of living for 1500USD – still dont get, why so many people immigrating to the U.S.

    Some of leadings society critics talks about “capitlism with asian featerus”. This papartment really reminds me some of Honk Kong living cages, thats are only slightly cheaper.