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This opinion-piece is a response to Nick Axel’s essay Cloud Urbanism: Towards a Redistribution of Spatial Value, published on ArchDaily as part of our partnership with Volume. In his recent article, Nick Axel puts forward a compelling argument for the (re)distribution of city-space according to use value: kickball trophies and absentee owners out, efficient use of space in. Distributing urban space according to use certainly makes sense. Along with unoccupied luxury condos that are nothing more than assets to the 1% and mostly empty vacation apartments, expelling (rarely accessed) back-closets to the suburbs frees more of the limited space in cities for people to actually live in. When, however, this is stretched into a rationale for micro-apartments, the argument begins to thin. There is a big difference between arguing against large apartments, holding nothing but wealth, and arguing that 400sqft apartments (the current legal minimum) are under-used and inefficient. Axel is arguing that micro-apartments offer a design solution to urban inequality by seeing them “as a legal mechanism to distribute, through architecture and urbanism, standards of living.” View more View full description
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