$400 a month to live in a box

by Ephraim Vecina04 Apr 2016
In response to the seemingly inexorable growth of real estate prices in North America’s most in-demand cities, a freelance illustrator in the U.S. is venturing into a new lodging concept, but writer Jack Moore is having none of it.
The solution proposed by San Francisco-based artist Peter Berkowitz, as Moore wrote in a piece for GQ, proved to be one of the more bizarre suggestions that have taken rise in the wake of sky-high prices.
“Peter came up with an idea. What if he lived in a wooden box inside a friend's apartment and paid an incredibly discounted rent? Peter took the idea to his friend, who took the idea to his roommates. They agreed, and Peter built a ‘pod’ in the living room,” Moore explained.
“This is insane. No city is worth this. Especially not San Francisco,” Moore said in disbelief. “If a friend of mine asked me if he could live in a box in my living room, I'd ask him if everything was alright, then I'd help him find an actual place to live, and set him up with a good psychiatrist. I definitely wouldn't have him basically build a walk-in closet in my house and then have him pay me money for the privilege of sleeping in it.”
In defense of Berkowitz’s idea, Moore hastened to add, the average price for a bedroom in the city $3,670—a figure not too far off from the costs in the similarly inflamed Canadian markets of Toronto and Vancouver.
However, the real danger according to Moore is that the artist is planning to launch a start-up that would basically give consumers the choice to live in a box in a friend’s home, all for a “reasonable” price. Such ideas might lead to the spread of equally impractical housing solutions, Moore said.
“You are being unreasonable when you say that. Your box is not nicer than most people's bedrooms. The way I can tell is that your thing is called a ‘box’ (or, being generous, a ‘pod’) while those people's things are called ‘bedrooms’. The fact that their things have the word "room" baked right into the name indicates that their bedrooms are, you know, rooms,” Moore stated.

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