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Old 01-26-2013, 09:48 PM
 
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Really, you can live quite comfortably at 500sf/person and maybe throw in an addition 100sf/pet.

A family of 4 with a couple of cats and a dog could live quite well in a 2300sf house (indeed, this would be considered luxurious in Manhattan). Anything more than that is unneeded luxury or ostentatious display of wealth.

Debate.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:55 PM
 
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I don't know if you'll find anyone willing to take the opposite side. I'm sure there are plenty of people who think that it's preferable to have more space than that, but most people realize that it's not necessary.

Personally, I think I'd feel like we were rattling around if we had 2,300 square feet.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:04 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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There are plenty of things people don't need but want anyway.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:04 PM
 
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I suppose if you don't actually DO anything at home, nor have guests over, nor own much of anything, you can live comfortably at 500sf. But as far as unneeded luxury or ostentation is concerned, 500sf is far too large for the boundary of necessity; many people live with less than that. And ostentatious display requires that the space be for display, not for comfort; it's not ostentation to have 2000 square feet per person unless you have it just to impress.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:05 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
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I live in a 1,500 square foot 3bd house by my lonesome. I'm frankly very worried for anyone who thinks the $300/month more I spend on it than I would for a 1bd apartment is an ostentatious display of wealth. Plus I get a two-car garage, back yard for the dog, don't have to here loud sex from my neighbors since they're not getting it on on the other side of a thin wall, don't have to hear the rhinos stampeding down the hall every morning at 6 a.m. Anyone that would prefer to subject themselves to that to save $300 is an idiot.

I've lived in under 500 fine. My studio in Seoul was just over 300 square feet. Nobody needs more than that. Hell, go to a third-world country and you'd have a family with five kids living in something that size with dirt floors and no running water. I like my running water, thank you very much.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:58 PM
 
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I think it's tough to set a boundary. I live in a 1,200 square foot house--there are 2 adults and a teenager. Most of the time it feels plenty big. I thought we might feel pressed to expand it, but it would be to create some optional space (e.g. a separated study). Once in a while there's an issue, particularly when sound privacy is needed. I'd say that most people we know in the community who have similar incomes have more space, though not everybody. And so what if they do?

Komeht, I'm guessing that you may be thinking that American space standards need to shrink to facilitate urban living. I think that a significant number of people will trade off space for location and other amenities. When the two of us lived in Manhattan, in an apartment well under 500 square feet, we and our friends did more of our socializing in cafes, less at home. A lot of new urban buildings have amenities for the building as a whole so people don't have to have their own.
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:24 AM
 
Location: Laurentia
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That position might be true, but I could postulate another position: does anyone really need to live in a house that is less than 1000 square feet? Does anyone really need a car shorter than 180 inches? You could phrase these questions however you wish, and they all seem consistent with people's "needs".

However, if one takes this to the logical conclusion, does anyone really "need" anything more than one cot and two meals a day of bread, water, and a vitamin pill? Perhaps they don't need any more than that, but if one thinks it through life isn't about what we "need". The desire for more than bare needs and basic survival ("wants") is the essence of how we advance as a people. It is what drives and enables us to develop new and improved technologies and techniques, and more to the point enables us to build homes that better suit our desired lifestyles (that are usually bigger than what we strictly need). All of this improves our lives, and enables us to do more more efficiently; two qualities that are (and should be) very attractive to the vast majority of humans.

Don't get me wrong: if a 500 square foot apartment suits your lifestyle and is better for what you want to do, go for it, but my point is that life is about much more than basic survival needs. If a 3000 square foot apartment will better suit your preferred lifestyle, go for that just as vigorously (if anything you should pursue it with greater vigor since 3000 square feet costs more ).
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:00 AM
 
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I think people have made th assumption that I've chosen an arbitrary allotment of size place and woukd put a prescription on how much housing people should have. That is not true. I believe people are free to make the same mistakes that I have.

The number OTOH is arbitrary because it comes out of personal experience. I personally found that 500 sf/person was enough to feel comfortable, but not wasteful. We had a 2220 sf house for two of us + pets...guess we thought we 'd have kids that never came. In any case, we ended up willing the space with stuff with expensive stuff we didn't need and didn't even really want. Was our life better in such a big place? It wasn't. We spent more money to buy it, more money and time to maintain it, more tax dollars every year to keep the state away, more money to heat and cool it than necessary. It was a lovely place, and made us a fortune on resale thanks to a great local economy. But selling it and down sizing was freedom.

Utility bills a third, property taxes half, weekends are ours now, more money in our pocket to do stuff with, less stuff in our home to weigh us down. Do I miss the big back yard? I thought I would, but it turns out I like the hike trail nearby a lot better. instead of mowing the lawn on the weekends, I cook out on our small patio and we have time to enjoy the space we do have. The family of four who bought our place is much better suited to 2200 sf than we ever were.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:12 AM
 
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People laugh at me because I say I could be very happy living in a small trailer home somewhere.
Take away all the "Trailer Trash", "Meth" and other undesirable stereotype stuff, and I really think trailer homes are a very responsible lifestyle. Small homes that have a minimal footrprint. Can be moved or trashed when no longer needed. You have not permanently ruined a piece of land for your temporary stay on earth. To stay mildly on-topic, 500sq ft. is a good number
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Log "cabin" west of Bangor
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It's completely subjective and personal. My wife and I have 1800sq ft (plus 800 sq ft detached garage) on 22 acres. It's too small for us. And it's not an 'ostentatious' display of wealth, since mortgage and property tax are less than a studio apt. in a big city like NYC etc. Double or (better) triple the living space would suit us better...if we had the money to do it.
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