It doesn't sound a whole lot different than my current living situation or former living situations. I currently rent a bedroom in a 3 bedroom apartment with 3 other people, share a shower with one roommate, and keep 99% of my possessions in my room because my roommates like to party and I don't want stuff stolen or broken. It's not a great situation for dating or being social and I have to be extremely efficient with space, but the room works well as an affordable place to crash after work.
The renegotiation of the social contract to remove any element of personal space (cubicles to bullpens, cars to crush-loaded buses, and now studios to barracks) is many things, but it isn’t progress. As someone with deep-seated needs for alone time and private space, “our culture’s obsessive individualism” is awesome and it’s deeply disturbing to see it evaporate.
I'm not sure there ever was such a social contract, since the personal space you're describing is a very modern innovation. As late as the 60s, all offices were open plan offices, and single-room occupancy was simply what you got on the cheaper end of the urban housing market.
Sure, you expect to see worse housing "on the cheaper end of the housing market". Compare your grandparent comment:
>>> The risks really seem to come in if you use this model to serve the poor. But as a solution for graduates jumping into their middle-income city gig I think it’s brilliant
Good enough for the middle class, but not good enough for the poor?
Good enough to have available as an option, for people who want to scrimp and save for a bit while they ramp up their careers. Not good enough to push people into one long term.
If it's available as an option and it's cheaper, how are you going to stop the poor from living there?
Farmers spent their days alone in the fields. And the “co-living” model of the early industrial city was soundly rejected, to the point of drastic overreaction - where do you think all these controls on zoning and density came from?
>ut as a solution for graduates jumping into their middle-income city gig I think it’s brilliant and a healthy shift away from our culture’s obsessive individualism.
Not serving the poor does nothing to solve the problem of people with big salaries pricing out the locals.
If a room costs X and an apartment costs X + 100 and the rich people can afford either enough of them will choose the apartments to raise the price of apartments and out compete the poor people who want those same apartments.
Nothing less than sheer volume of available houses within a reasonable distance of wherever everyone wants to be solves the housing problem.
You could do a multi-tiered subsidized housing approach or rent control.
The real answer is that even massive building isn't a solution because you're externalizing huge costs onto existing property owners. There's no way to do this without redistribution so we need to make sure we explicitly protect the poor during that redistribution.
> The real answer is that even massive building isn't a solution because you're externalizing huge costs onto existing property owners.
I see a lot of people say that existing property owners block additional building in order to preserve the high value of their property. This doesn't make a lot of sense to me -- with the ability to build much more, the value of your house drops as more housing comes onto the market, but the value of your land rises by much more, as what was a plot of land that could support 3 households becomes a plot of land that can support 50. Manhattan isn't known for its low property values.
Is that the cost you're thinking of? What did you have in mind?
I wrote a big paragraph responding to this but then I remembered something I'd read and as usual, someone else has said it better than I could.
>Even if, in aggregate, land values increase, densification of an existing neighborhood creates risks for individual property owners they many not wish to bear. If an apartment block is built next door, my old neighbor may have gotten rich from selling, but my plot may not be suitable for putting up yet another tower, and my home may be worth less for its busy, unquaint new neighbor. People experience individual not aggregate outcomes, and individual outcomes are usually riskier than aggregate outcomes. Absent some insurance mechanism, it is rationally hard to persuade individuals to consent to policy changes that, in aggregate terms, would meet a return-to-risk hurdle but at an individual level might not. When market urbanists point to how much more productive and awesome the city as a whole might become, they are missing this point.
Can you point to some examples where the land value of an urban plot differs significantly from the land value of other nearby plots?
I wouldn't even know where to get such data. Just imagine two close plots, one which has a view of the city and one where the view is blocked. They'll have very different values.
The risks really seem to come in if you use this model to serve the poor. But as a solution for graduates jumping into their middle-income city gig I think it’s brilliant and a healthy shift away from our culture’s obsessive individualism.
So pay for a place to live and all your regular social responsibilities like cleanliness and paying for services on time are just taken care of...? That doesn't seem like a great way to transition into adulthood at all.