Home Sweet (Tiny) Home: S.F. Plans To Downsize

This week the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a pilot program to build apartments as small as 220 square feet. The experimental ordinance is prompted by rocketing real estate values in the city.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This week the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a pilot program to build apartments as small as 220 square feet. The experimental ordinance is prompted by rocketing real estate values in San Francisco, where studio apartments can cost $3,000 a month. Officials worry that bright and ambitious young people might tire of sleeping on inflatable beds and having multiple roommates and move out to someplace like Alameda County or Iowa. The 220-square-foot units might rent for $1,500 a month. Now, how small is 220 square feet? You could fit eight rolls of holiday wrapping paper into 220 square feet. You'd need just a pound of grass seed to grow turf for 220 square feet of lawn, and it's about twice the size of most prison cells. Supervisor John Avalos cast the one dissenting vote against 10 in favor, saying the new, small residential units won't help working families make homes in the city. And Supervisor Dave Campos says he's worried that the rents on marginally larger apartments will go up even more. Just 370 of the micro-apartments will be built at first. Has anyone thought to call them iPads?

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