843 Acres: Living in Micro-Apartments

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Deut 2 (text | audio, 5:15 min)
Ps 83 (text | audio, 1:40 min)
Ps 84 (text | audio, 1:23 min)

Micro-Units: City apartments are getting smaller and smaller. Last summer, Mayor Bloomberg announced that he was going to waive current building regulations to allow Manhattan to pilot its first “micro-unit” apartment building (250—370 square feet per unit) [1]. Similarly, San Francisco city codes were recently changed to allow developers to build apartments with less than 150 square feet of living space [2]. Why do we choose to put up with such tight quarters?

Involuntary: Many of us think that the city offers unique professional opportunities and, therefore, living in tiny apartments is a small sacrifice with (hopefully) big payoffs. Most of the world, however, lives in small spaces because it is their only choice. In Hong Kong, for example, about 100,000 people live in inadequate housing. “There’s nothing you can do about it,” says 67-year-old Leung Cho-Yin, who lives in a 16-square foot metal cage for $167/month. “I’ve got to live here. I’ve got to survive” [3].

Presence: For hundreds of years, the presence of the Lord was housed in a structure that was only 30 square feet—the Holy of Holies [4]. It did not matter how small it was, however, because the greatness of the Holy of Holies was not in its size: “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God … For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness” [5].

Prayer: Lord, We confess that sometimes we complain about the size of our apartments because living in small spaces can be challenging. Forgive us, Lord, when try to find happiness in our homes more than in you. For whether we live in small or large spaces, our only hope and joy come from being in your presence. Let us, therefore, seek your face daily so that we may say, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” Amen.



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[1] NYC.gov. “Mayor Bloomberg Announces New Competition to Develop Innovative Apartment Model for Small Households.” Press Release. July 9, 2012. See also Oshrat Carmiel. “Manhattan to Get First ‘Micro-Unit’ Apartment Building.” Bloomberg. January 22, 2013. | [2] Eric Jaffe. “Micro-Apartments So Nice You’ll Wish Your Place Was This Small.” The Atlantic: Cities. November 19, 2012. See also KCBS. “A Look Inside San Francisco’s Micro-Apartments.” April 10, 2013. | [3] AP. “Hong Kong’s poor live in stacked metal cages.” CBS News. February 7, 2013. | [4] See 2 Chronicles 3:8; 1 Kings 6:20. | [5] Psalm 84:1-2, 10 ESV


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