The ever-growing population of the UK has brought the government to the conclusion that 300,000 new homes per year need to be provided. That’s a lot of homes with not a lot of space particularly in London. These kinds of problems call for ‘micro living’ homes as the solution. The British Property Federation (BPF) in collaboration with JLL carried out research to redefine ‘micro living’. The term refers to ‘The provision of homes that do not conform to current minimum space standards.’ At present there are many terms used globally to describe these homes delivered below the minimum space standards. Due to the lack of a common definition across the board, this creates confusion between key parties in the housing industry such as developers and government thus slowing productivity and hindering the resolution of our housing crisis.
There are currently three ‘micro living’ product types;
The BPF, working in partnership with JLL and Inspired Homes, undertook detailed analysis of the terminology used to describe small housing products from across the world to come up with the three micro living categories shown in the image above:
- Compact Living – self-contained smaller homes encapsulating a diverse range of global terms including micro, nano, tiny and compact.
- Co-Living – purpose-built, managed developments often in the form of cluster rooms that include a combination of personal and shared amenity space.
- Shared Living – converted or subdivided houses / HMOs or historic forms of sharing such as dormitories or old-style student halls of residence.
In places like London where there isn’t a lot of build space micro living may very well be the answer. The spaces are smaller, but the facilities and the design are very attractive. We are living in a city where a lot of people desire location over the size of their homes. The average floor space in British homes is 76 sq m with the UK being home to some of the smallest dwellings in Europe. We have been heading towards the micro living solution for quite some time now, since 2014 there has been a 172% increase in micro homes and in 2017, 8000 new micro homes were built.
According to BRE, a UK based housing research charity, Oxford Street is a prime location for micro homes among other areas. Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol have also been noted as hotspots for compact living. They are very appealing for the young and adaptable such as students, young professionals and even young couples.
BPF carried out interviews with developers, policy makers, planners and tenants, and have come to the conclusion that the following facilities/amenities should be provided in all homes regardless of the size;
- Washing machine
- Cooking facilities
What is left to be determined is if these amenities need to be provided in self-contained homes or if they can be shared in some manner. Here at Tempohousing we have similar projects that have the majority of the facilities in a self-contained manner and some shared facilities such as laundry rooms or communal dining halls, particularly for students. Click here to see our student accommodation apartments in Utrecht, Holland, which have been provided with all the essential facilities and a shared laundrette.