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Shrinking Homes: Viability of Micro-Apartments in Rapidly Growing European Urban Centres

Part 1 Dissertation 2023
Marcelina Marszalek
University of Reading | UK
Historically, small apartments were associated with poor living conditions and slum-type housing. Nowadays, the shortage of affordable housing in rapidly growing cities has made micro-apartments increasingly popular among housing developers in Europe, meant to provide low-cost units in high-cost housing markets. However, the concept remains controversial with a growing paucity of studies debating if this form of dwelling provides affordable and suitable housing.

This dissertation explores this emerging trend of micro-apartments, by identifying their target niche and comparing the design premises with the real-life experiences of residents through an online survey. The comparative study selected an heterogenous group of 5 young persons (20-23 years old) renting micro-apartments in five European urban centres: Helsinki, Berlin, Warsaw, London, and Reading. The survey questions focused on de¬cision making and exploring preferences re¬garding housing attributes based on their at¬tractiveness or importance. Moreover, it highlights the micro-apartment viability as a solution for the housing deficit and the concerns of the profit-by-square-meter approach with its possible detrimental effects on the household market and economy.

The study found that these micro-apartments appear to be responding to the current housing needs of renters in the early stages of their professional career, who are mobile, without a family.

Marcelina Marszalek

Tutor(s)
Penelope Plaza
2023
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