December 28, 2015
Thomas Lifson discusses the tiny apartment craze at American Thinker.
At the end of the piece he makes the following statement:
"I am of two minds on this. Unquestionably, it is a lowering of living standards to provide less space per person than in the past. And in fact, until very recently, America has seen a tremendous increase in the amount of living space per person that we provide. The standard suburban house of the 1950s postwar building boom was roughly 1,600 square feet, whereas these days in most suburbs, the average is more like 2,500. And mega-houses are not uncommon.
But that phenomenon is largely in the lower-cost cities of the interior. The micro-apartment phenomenon is limited to very rich coastal cities, mostly with land development constrained by geography and regulation. The San Francisco Bay Area, probably the most expensive in the nation these days, has huge tracts of land off limits to development, resulting in sky-high prices for the remaining land.
But my other mind on the subject tells me that if people really want to live in Manhattan or San Francisco or Boston and are willing to put up with small living spaces, why not? That is how people in Paris, Tokyo, and London live, for instance. In my years in ultra-expensive Tokyo, I had several apartments even smaller than 360 square feet. A relative who lived in Paris similarly had a tiny apartment. People in those cities spend a lot of time outside the home, at restaurants, cafés, and other public gathering spots. The streets are lively and full of people. It is a fun lifestyle for the young and single crowd. Families, not so much.
The local IKEA store here in Emeryville, at the foot of the Bay Bridge and serving SF, features a number of model rooms for a tiny apartment, with everything built in and totally efficient. They are cute.
As a lifestyle choice, this is fine. As a lowering of living standards, take it a sign of what liberalism brings to blue cities â€“ even the prosperous ones. The other kind â€“ places like Detroit â€“ have vacant houses so plentiful they are a health hazard."
I was quite disappointed with this article; Lifson failed to mention U.N. Agend 21, which is spearheading this whole tiny housing movement. Accoridng to this American Thinker article from 2009;
"Undoubtedly, residents of any town, county, or city in the United States that treasure their freedom, liberty, and property rights couldn't care less whether it's called Agenda 21 or smart growth. A recent example of this can be found in Carroll County, Maryland, where a smart growth plan called Pathways was drafted by the County Planning Department. The plan, if enacted, proposed a breathtaking reshuffling of land rights:
* Rezoning of thousands of acres of beautiful, low-density agricultural farmland and protected residential conservation land into office parks
* Down-zoning of agriculture land to prevent future subdivision by farmers
* Up-zoning of low-density residential land around small towns into higher density zoning to permit construction of hundreds or possibly thousands of inclusive housing units, including apartments and condominiums
* Inclusive housing with placement of multi-family construction on in-fill lots within existing residential single family communities
* Endorsement of government-sponsored housing initiatives (subsidies) to ensure healthier, balanced neighborhoods
Carroll County, Maryland is one of 1,168 cities, towns, and counties worldwide that are members of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) - Local Governments for Sustainability, which is an international association of local governments as well as national and regional local government organizations that have made a commitment to sustainable development. The ICLEI mission statement closely resembles that of Agenda 21. In fact, the ICLEI has Special Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council and coordinates local government representation in the UN processes related to Agenda 21.
Community leaders working together in Carroll County recently defended their county against overreaching smart growth initiatives. Richard Rothschild, a candidate for Commissioner, emphatically remarks, "Smart growth is not science; it is political dogma combined with an insidious dose of social engineering. Smart growth is a wedding wherein zoning code is married with government-sponsored housing initiatives to accomplish government's goal of social re-engineering. It urbanizes rural towns with high-density development, and gerrymanders population centers through the use of housing initiatives that enable people with weak patterns of personal financial responsibility to acquire homes in higher-income areas. This has the effect of shifting the voting patterns of rural municipalities from Right to Left."
Smart growth plans usurp property rights and constitutional rights. Local officials, at the behest of State Government, revise zoning laws to fit into a "smart code" zoning template. A massive reshuffling of property rights ensues. Farmers may lose subdivision rights; conservation land adjacent to population centers may be rezoned into commercial employment centers; and low-density land in small towns is re-designated as growth area and rezoned to accommodate diverse housing including high-density apartments and condominiums.
Finally, a healthy dose of federal- or state-sponsored housing initiatives is embraced to ensure communities are properly balanced. The net effect of these plans is to create highly urbanized population centers throughout otherwise-rural counties, while simultaneously limiting the availability of land for suburban and estate subdivisions, as these are considered an unsustainable waste of land by Agenda 21 disciples."
To quote the RIO Conference in 1992 (which created the Agenda 21 plan):
"...current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class - involving high meat intake use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work-place air-conditioning, and suburban housing - are not sustainable. A shift is necessary. which will require a vast strengthening of the multilateral system, including the United Nations..."  Maurice Strong , opening speech at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development
And what could be more "unsustainable" than a lot of people living in large domiciles? Forcing people to accept small residents, to live with less and less, is the basic goal of Agenda 21, and tiny houses and apartments are a key compoent of this internationalist power grab.
If this were a real market-driven thing I wouldn't care, but it is entirely arficial, being driven by our tax dollars and central-planning elites. We should despise any efforts to restrict our lifestyles by bureacratic fiat.
We are moving to what the Progressives have always sought; a world where people are not individuals but are cogs in a machine, tools to be warehoused. Since the Industrial Revolution the Left has sought to turn Men into simple commodities. That is what this micro-apartment move is all about. WE are little more than cattle to our betters.
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