In Depth

Architect says London millennials ‘don’t need space bigger than a hotel room’

Twitter hits back at suggestion that minimum floorspace limits should be scrapped to ease London housing criis

wd-house_price_flatline.jpg

The suggestion that millennials are happy to go without living rooms has met with online ridicule and disbelief.

Patrik Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects, the prestigious firm behind the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympics, said that a hotel-sized room is enough for young professionals “out and about networking 24/7”.

In a briefing paper, Schumacher argues that current planning regulations mandating that all new builds have a minimum floorspace of 38 square metres (409 square feet) are outdated and not representative of millennial priorities.

“For many young professionals who are out and about networking 24/7, a small, clean, private hotel room-sized central patch serves their needs perfectly well,” he said.

A proliferation of “hotel room-sized” studio flats would make living in central London more affordable, reduce commuting costs and enable more millennials to take their first step on the property ladder.

He dismissed concerns that lifting minimum sizing regulations would leave Britons living in 'rabbit hutches' as “emotional and rhetorical”

Schumacher’s comments met with a frosty reception online, as millennials struggling to find affordable living solutions rejected the idea that smaller flats would improve their situation:

Many also criticised his view of young workers as elitist and out-of-touch with reality:

However, some defended Schumaker’s idea, pointing out that the German-born architect was referring specifically to the problems of young professionals in London.

Sophie Jarvis, a policy adviser at the Adam Smith Institute, said that relaxing sizing rules would ease the housing shortage forcing young people further and further out of the capital.

“If developers were allowed to build smaller houses, millennials could live in a compact, ergonomic flat in Zone 1 or 2, instead of a run-down, cold flat in at the end of the Central line or half-way to Hull.”

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