Bylaws setting minimum house or apartment sizes are everywhere. They claim to be for health and safety reasons but often are there to keep the property taxes up or to keep out the riff-raff. In Paris, housing charity Fondation Abbe Pierre tells the story of 50 year old "Dominique" who, after 15 years, has been evicted from a 17 square foot apartment in Paris that he rented for 330 euros (US$ 440) per month. It's really bigger than that- French bylaws do not count space under 5'-9" to be habitable so much of the space under the slope doesn't count. It's more likely close to 85 square feet.
It's a simple place; Dominique tells French radio that "I come home, I go to bed." He seemed satisfied with his accommodation and now doesn't have a place to live.On NPR, the comments are scathing.
Hooray! Score one for "social justice". Now that the interests of propriety and moral outrage have been served, precisely who'll provide an equally affordable alternative to "Dominique" now that authorities have arbitrarily declared his 2sqm living space uninhabitable? Perhaps Parisian streets are more humane.
It is a difficult question. Minimum floor areas were set to eliminate slums and overcrowding, and the requirement for a shower is obvious. Yet people make choices, particularly if they want to live in cities like New York or Paris. It isn't too far off from the 78 Square foot apartment in New York that Kim showed last year. What do you think?