Singapore’s “Shoe Box” Homes

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The housing market of Singapore is filled with small housing units--also known as "shoebox units"--that are 500 square feet or less and housing six people. According to Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), at the end of the 2011 year there were 2,400 shoebox units in the city-state and it estimates that by the end of 2015, there will be more than 11,000.

The main reason behind the success of these units is the scarcity of space and rising home values, which leaves people with no other option but to opt for these small housing units. The growing concern by the government lies in the rising trend of developers building these units and the people staying in them. And this concern is beyond valid: The areas around the shoe box units were not built to sustain the extra traffic, water use and electricity that comes with a higher population that lives in the towers housing small units.

Architecture magazine Atlantic Cities noted; "The URA recently announced a new set of rules discouraging new developments outside the central part of the city that consist primarily of these smaller units. The rules, which will take effect in November, acknowledge that shoebox units are wanted and needed in the city, but officials are hoping they can limit just how much of Singapore becomes concentrated with towers full of small apartments and many, many residents."

Source and photos courtesy Atlantic Cities.

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