Skinny home design: the answer for future cities?

With more and more people migrating to cities across the globe, the question of affordable housing has become a hot topic not only for the public but for designers as well.

The effect of the increased population can be seen all around - newly developed apartments, urban sprawls stretching out for kilometers (Johannesburg, Midrand and Pretoria will be one giant residential sprawl in the future if expansion continues the way it does) and the upgrading of city centres (The Maboneng District is an example of this.)

However some designers are looking at the problem from a different perspective. In the swell of expansion, they ask - what if we went thinner?

Danish designers Mateusz Mastalski and Ole Robin Storjohann have created a series of clever urban concepts that could occupy the residual spaces between buildings, yet remain lit with natural daylighting and looking surprisingly spacious.

Titled "Live Between Buildings," the project proposes several designs sited in various cities like New York, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Helsinki and London. Coming in various configurations, the surfaces are all covered with transparent roof windows to let the maximum amount of light in.

The drawback to these designs are that they aren’t for those with disabilities or very nimble limbs. But the spatial overlapping allows for a lot of different functions to be potentially packed in, while leaving some room for fun things - such as climbing wall (because why not?)

Measuring less than 4 meters wide, we've seen how well-designed skinny houses can and do actually work, be they are in Japan or the United Kingdom. With reasonable regulatory oversight, this is an idea worth exploring: as affordable urban space becomes scarce, filling in the residual spaces between existing buildings may be one way to maximize use of urban land, rather than having cities and suburbs sprawling out unsustainably to eat up arable land.

?(All images copyrighted to Mateusz Mastalski and Ole Robin Storjohann) 

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