Capsule hotels, once the haven of Japanese salarymen who had missed the last train home, are now seeing a new kind of guest – permanent residents who have been forced to drastically downsize in the current recession. Offering little more than sparsest of accommodations – bunks are typically no larger than 6 1/2 feet long by 5 feet wide, and not tall enough to stand up in, providing a light, a small TV with headphones and basic linens – and affording little privacy – beds are stacked two high and side-by-side with thin screens instead of doors – the hotels are a far cry from home, but in light of this widespread development, small considerations are being made to improve conditions. The hotels have begun extending discounts to long-term dwellers and the Japanese government has given these tenants permission to register the hotels as their official residences, enabling people to more easily seek employment.
While this change in the way people are living is being made out of necessity – as a means of saving money – and in the case of these capsule hotels, is rather extreme, it does underpin a definitive shift towards smaller living. With more people moving into cities and multiple family members often living under the same roof, it’s certainly a trend to be mindful of, particularly as we watch how individuals attempt to maximize their spaces, at the same they curtail their consumption.
[via NY Times]