First it was the unaffordability of ‘real’ homes (combined with massive student loan debt) that spoiled the living-the-Dream narrative for America’s young people.
Remember this 350-square foot studio in NYC that cost $645,000?
Then it was a shift to “tiny homes” – which became popular with millennials since their standard of living has collapsed.
But while they could virtue signal with solar panels and wind power systems, an eco-friendly bathroom, and a kitchen with everything needed to make avocado and toast, living in with post-industrial feel using an old shipping container for $37,000 was too much for many…
So ‘podlife’ sprung up on the coasts – as the housing affordability crisis deepened on the West Coast, a new style of living, one that reminds millennials of their college dormitory days, sprang up in cities across California.
But, residents were upset by having to adhere to house rules, one being that lights go out at 10 pm each night, and no guests are allowed inside.
And so, as AFP reports, young Americans flocking to LA and NYC are now resorting to “Capsule Living” as the only affordable option…
Inspired by the famous hotels in Japan, each room contains up to six capsules, described by residents as “cozy,” containing a single bed, a bar for hanging clothes, a few compartments for storing shoes and other items and an air vent.
By most standards, the coffin-like accommodation is still not cheap – $750 per month plus taxes. That works out at around $800 and there are still rules… women and men sleep apart, and having sex is not an option.
For Dana Cuff, an architect and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), this type of community presents only a short-term solution.
“We basically need to be developing a huge range of options for the kinds of housing that are available,” she said.
“To me, co-living pods… are symptoms of this deep need for a much greater range of housing alternatives.”
Alejandro Chupina, 27, left home as a teenager because his parents did not support his career as an actor and musician.
“We have so many different amenities… for what we’re paying, I feel like we’re getting way more, in different ways,” said the young man with a handlebar mustache, who can recite the musical “Hamilton” by heart.
We give the final word to Kay Wilson, who packed up her life in a hurry and moved to Los Angeles… only to find that what she paid in Pennsylvania for a nice studio apartment would only get her a 2.9-square-meter box in California.
“I sold all my belongings and I moved here to be in this pod… I’m finding comfort in being uncomfortable,”
The American Dream indeed…