Compact Housing……… An emerging trend of current times

New York and Tokyo have adopted the concept of compact housing since generations and till date it is popular

By Ar. Vivek Bhole, CMD, Vivek Bhole Architects Pvt. Ltd.

With our country fast moving from developing to a developed nation, affordable housing is the need of the hour. Non-availability of land, high land prices and correspondingly increasing housing prices are driving the demand for compact homes. Unsold inventory with the developers and skyrocketing land prices demands the need for compact housing what we define as affordable housing. Improvement in rural infrastructural development and government focusing on affordable housing programs under their agenda of housing for all before 2022 the compact housing scheme has become one of the most important aspects in today’s scenario.

In metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru etc developers are targeting youngsters with compact home projects. Projects are launched by developers as per the buyer’s desire to invest and their purchasing capacity. The young generation has dreams & aspirations to have their own houses. Their requirements are a simple-compact home which suits their wallets & is ideally located in close proximity to all amenities and facilities. Compact homes prove to be a practical option for buyers who cannot afford expensive houses. Prices of smaller apartments are relatively cheaper with low maintenance cost. They are likely to have higher resale value since these homes have a high demand and many prospective buyers. This implies that owners of such homes can relocate or move into larger homes if they wish to.

From an architect’s perspective the compact dwellings in spite of being only 40-50% of conventional unit size with habitable rooms restricted to maximum three rooms in general, it is observed that the ratio of a number of residents in such compact units are proportionally equal or sometimes even more. This poses a great challenge to the designers. Meticulous space planning and detailing can combat the major challenges of fitting more apartments to the core and improving their efficiency. The passage inside the apartments needs to be minimal or completely avoided to save on usable carpet. The compact housing projects are inevitable of affordable category & they need a lot of value engineering because the apartments are smaller in size. The major design challenge is to explore with available light and ventilation and privacy of the apartment dwellers. Various features like multi-utility rooms, multifunctional furniture, efficient parking, segregation between vehicular and pedestrian movements in the complex, safe play areas, gated community feel for individual buildings, segregated still easily accessible convenience shopping , common amenities etc are required to overcome challenges in compact housing projects. The real challenge for any architect apart from general planning skills is to understand the socio-economic needs of the end users, knowledge and skill to incorporate the same in the design.

The most developed cities like New York and Tokyo have adopted the concept of compact housing since generations and till date it is popular. In the last few years, there has been a considerable increase in urban migration in India as youngsters are relocating to different cities in search of better job opportunities and livelihood. Compact houses will be the future housing in India. The government must consider this option to realize its aim of providing a decent house to every individual.

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