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Is 600 Square Feet the New Normal?


It used to be that a detached, 3-bedroom house with a 2-car garage was seen not so much as a dream to work towards, but a glorious climax to the consumerist life. Not so anymore.

The ever rising cost of housing in the city, along with increasing concern on how our lifestyle and choices affect the environment has got a lot of home buyers asking themselves, 'how much space do I really need?'.

The National Post is running a three part series this week that examines the backlash against 'living large'. People are coming back to the city by choice, and their leaving their white picket fences and second cars behind.

A large part of the movement has got to be driven by basic economics. The average detached bungalow in Toronto will now set you back $388,000. If you can find one for that price, it's likely a fixer-upper or miles away from downtown. Conversely, $388,000 will get you a pretty sweet condo downtown with no renovations required and all the perks of city living waiting outside your door.

But the 'new urbanist' inspired concepts of intentionally living small and increasing density also have far reaching implications on our environment, our collective health, and our sense of community in the neighbourhoods across our city.

Urban life demands flexibility, adaptability, and creativity. Learning to make due with far less than the traditional ideal is never a bad exercise to go through. Suddenly that 600 square foot condo is looking more spacious than ever.

Photo by Hyfen from the blogTO Flickr group.


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