Re: How much living space to you need?
From: balaji (
Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 22:59:06 -0700 (PDT)
It is certainly true one can get by for less.  I lived in a fishing
village on the southeastern coast of India for seven years.  The house was
one room and had about 500 square feet.  That was for six people.  We
cooked on a buffalo dung fire on the verandah, and the "facility" was the
nearby sea shore.  Most life was lived in public -- in the alleys between
the huts, on the road, on the beach.  And that, for an American, took a
bit of getting used to.  But I miss it, and that's why I go back for a few
weeks every year or two.  In a few weeks, we (my wife and 3 children)
leave New Zealand for the Amazon (eastern Ecuador) were we will live in a
tiny house on the edge of the rainforest, just down the road from the
erupting volcano, Tungarahua.  Our friends are all hunters and gatherers,
and small-time horticulturalists.  It's great.

Well, perhaps we're a bit extreme -- we're both anthropologists -- but we
appreciate the pleasures of community:  a lesson we have learned from the
Indians and Ecuadorians who never gave it up for the suburban alienation
we take for granted in America.

Charles Nuckolls
Utah Valley Cohousing

> At 7:44 AM -0400 5/19/08, Sharon Villines wrote:
>>In Manhattan, small apartments are also possible because people live
>>in public more. They tend to meet for dinner instead of entertaining
>>in because they have no cars and it is a pain to get uptown or
>>downtown. They meet in between instead. Go out for  the paper and
>>breakfast in the morning. Hang out in Starbucks with a laptop or a
>>book. People even meet clients in hotel lobbies -- the ones with the
>>comfortable furniture and a bar. A fern place.
> This is true in many cultures (other than the United States). I
> recall reading a report about how many square feet (on average) a
> person needs to 'live'. Can't remember exact numbers, but people in
> the U.S. required more square feet than any other culture. People in
> Japan do very well in less than 200 square feet because they 'live'
> outside as you describe above. There is a condo project in Seattle
> that primarily houses moderate to high-income working class Asians.
> The condos are less than 200 square feet.
> I find 460 square feet a bit too tight for myself and my two cats. I
> don't think I could handle living here very long if my only view was
> the brick building next door.
> Cheers!
> Marganne
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