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The Housing Equivalent Of A Smart Car Is Just Large Enough To Live In

As we pile into cities, space is going to become much more limited. A new design manages to pack a lot of living into a tiny space.

In Japan, capsule hotels allow visitors to stay in rooms that aren’t large enough to stand up in. That’s tolerable for a night or two, but longer-term living requires a slightly larger space. Housing developer Patrick Kennedy is pushing the limits of just how tiny urban living spaces can be with Smartspace 1.0, a prefabricated dwelling that’s 160 square feet–the smallest legal size for an apartment in San Francisco–and designed to be stacked next to and on top of other similarly sized apartments.

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Take a look at the first Smartspace, constructed inside a Berkeley warehouse. The apartment features a bench that turns into a guest bed or dining room table, an appliance closet (so you don’t have to look at the microwave while you’re sleeping), and a couch that turns into a queen-sized bed.

Kennedy tells MIT: “It’s more fun to be on the creative side than the management side. What I want to do now is build the urban equivalent of Levittown–entry level, urban housing for about $200K each.”

Smartspace is currently working on a development in San Francisco’s SoMa district. The project, expected to be completed in 2014, will be the first dedicated student housing project in the city. It will come with a rooftop garden and onsite City CarShare vehicles in addition to its pint-sized studios and suites. The students will undoubtedly be grateful to have a cheap place to stay in a city where finding an apartment isn’t much easier than finding a job.

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About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more

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