Reader's View: Reject modern, minuscule apartment designs
Daily quality-of-life impacts, like adequate soundproofing and sufficient unit space, get ignored for more easily marketable amenities.
No one doubts there’s a lack of housing supply, either rental or occupant-owned. However, the current trend of developers to prioritize new, small, "luxury" apartments — a term I argue developers use loosely — has, so far, left us only with increased rents and unit-size downgrades.
Daily quality-of-life impacts, like adequate soundproofing and sufficient unit space, get ignored for more easily marketable amenities. If you decorate using the most recent interior-design trends, regardless of the actual quality of the workmanship or finish, and add a communal patio that doesn't get touched in the winter, you've got a recipe for a $1,400-a-month studio.
I recently toured a newly constructed complex in St. Paul and was blown away at the cost compared to the unit's size and quality. I shudder to think what these buildings will look like in 50 years. I do not believe for a second they will hold up long-term.
Is the solution new government regulations or guidelines for developers? No, probably not. If developers could profitably build a complex with large, one-bedroom units and quality soundproofing, perhaps they would. Even better would be modestly sized single-family homes.
All I know is, as a renter watching prices of single-family homes soar out of reach, something has to give — or we're all going to be living in micro apartments.
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