28 crazy pictures of micro-apartments around the world

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Tyrone Siu/Reuters

Humanity is increasingly moving into cities, but the Earth isn’t getting any bigger.

That means our apartments are getting smaller, and our living arrangements denser.

Some people get roommates to avoid living in such small spaces. Others, due to poverty or personal obligations, have no choice but to accept their crowded circumstances.

We don’t know how they do it, but somehow they make it work.


Wang Cunchun, 90, lives with his 60-year-old son in a 107-square-foot apartment in Shanghai, China.

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Aly Song/Reuters

China’s largest developer China Vanke showcases a micro-apartment at the Pearl River Delta Real Estate Fair in the city of Guangzhou.

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Reuters

In space-deprived China, tiny is the new big.

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Reuters

Like in all tiny apartments, efficient storage keeps the room from feeling too constricting.

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Reuters

The Burger family from Los Angeles, California, gets ready in a converted garage in wife Elizabeth Burger’s mother’s home. The family lost their home in 2009 and was forced to sell their possessions.

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Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Dharavi, a locality in the middle of Mumbai, India, is one of the largest slums in Asia. More than a million people live there.

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Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

The rent for a 100-square-foot home ranges from $0.04 per square foot to $0.06 per square foot.

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Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

In a 60-square-foot apartment in Hong Kong, a mother spends $487 a month to house herself and her son.

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Tyrone Siu/Reuters

By comparison, Jon-Christian Stubblefield lives in a spacious 200-square-foot studio in Seattle, Washington.

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Nick Adams/Reuters

“It was an affordable option living inside the city’s core for under 1,200,” Stubblefield told reporters in 2013.

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Nick Adams/Reuters

A few miles away, Seungchul You agrees his one-room, 200-square-foot apartment suits his needs just fine.

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Nick Adams/Reuters

In the Chinese city of Hefei, patients who can’t afford a bed at the local hospital are forced to receive treatment in one of the 86-square-foot rooms in a nearby apartment building.

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Jianan Yu/Reuters

In nearby Hong Kong, the real-estate prices per square foot are so high that people occupy rooms as small as 35 square feet just to live affordably.

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Siu Chiu/Reuters

New Yorkers were introduced last year to the city’s first official micro-apartment building near the Manhattan neighborhood of Kips Bay. Each one measures roughly 300 square feet.


The modern spaces are designed to maximize flexibility, with telescoping tables and Murphy beds that descend from the wall. Monthly rents range from $2,500 to $2,900.


Sometimes even 300 square feet is considered palatial. The Keret House in Warsaw, Poland (named after Israeli writer Edgar Keret) is just 36 inches wide at its narrowest point.

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Kacper Pempel/Reuters

The house is so small that it’s classified as an art installation. The building’s architect, Jakub Szczesny, and Keret select writers and artists to stay there for brief residencies.

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Kacper Pempel/Reuters

The house opened its door (it only fits one) in 2012.

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Kacper Pempel/Reuters

Kong Kyung-soon, 73, lives in a cramped apartment with just 21 square feet of living space, not including the area for her toilet and hot plate.

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Lee Jae Won/Reuters

She lives next to the posh Gangnam suburb, in Seoul, South Korea.

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Lee Jae Won/Reuters

Inside a 600-square-foot apartment complex in Hong Kong sit 19 units, all measuring less than 25 square feet. They are known as “cubicle homes.” Or, more ominously, “coffin homes.”

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Bobby Yip/Reuters

With rent costing $150 a month, the units are comprised of just two wooden panels set together. Residents are just steps from shopping and financial districts.

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Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Simon Wong, a 61-year-old resident, has just enough room to hang a few shirts and pairs of pants. His rent of $226 would be enough to share a one-bedroom apartment in many American towns.

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Bobby Yip/Reuters

For the country’s elderly, many of whom are unemployed, the units represent one of the only options to live affordably. Lam and Kitty Au, 60- and 63-year-old residents, must sleep in separate units.

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Bobby Yip/Reuters

More disturbing is the “cage home,” a stackable six-foot by two-foot wire box, also located in Hong Kong.

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Tyrone Siu/Reuters

Hundreds of elderly men, such as Kong Siu-Kau, live in these conditions. In one such building, up to 12 men can live together in tightly packed cages.

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Victor Fraile/Reuters

There are often bed bugs and putrid smells.

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Bobby Yip/Reuters

Until the Hong Kong government acknowledges the danger of the conditions, however, the best residents can do is protest. The cages are where many will live out their remaining years.

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Bobby Yip/Reuters