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Would Projected Windows Make a Cramped Micro Apartment More Comfortable?

Is virtual reality the solution to housing densification?

smithsonian.com

In the next thirty or so years demographers are expecting that we'll be packing more than 2 billion additional people onto this planet. Those people will need to live somewhere, and over at Fast Company we're introduced to Barnardo Schorr, a designer with a dishearteningly dystopian vision of how we might make our increasingly cramped lives more palatable. As seen in the video above, Schorr's plan is to project windows and scenery on the walls, in order to make a cramped, windowless box feel a little more free.

Talking to FastCo, Schorr says:

“It’s made for a future in which having any windows at all would be a luxury,” Schorr says. “We might not really need these ‘mixed reality’ living spaces quite yet, but the project is made for a future in which we’ll need them to be able to cope with confinement and survive these smaller apartments.”

For decades the size of American homes has soared. Since 1950, it has more than doubled, from 983 square feet to 2,300 square feet at the turn of the century. But now, in high-density cities the world over—including American metropolises like San Francisco and New York—tiny little micro apartments are becoming more abundannt. One of these little apartments,  detailed by the New York Times last year, was just 78 square feet. 

Schorr's design is not necessarily a path he wants us to follow, says Fast Company: “Though he designed the virtual apartment as a solution, it’s also meant to make people think about the future of living spaces, and whether "apodments" and parking space sized micro units are really such a good thing.”

Using virtual reality and projected images to make people feel more comfortable about their confinement isn't a wholly new idea, though: another designer, Austin Stewart, recently unveiled a similar plan to make factory farming more comfortable for chickens.

About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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