February 22, 2016 7:27 pm
Updated: February 22, 2016 11:51 pm

Take a tour: UBC to address housing affordability with 140-sq-ft Nano units

WATCH: The University of British Columbia is addressing its student housing crunch by offering suites that are only 140 square feet. Linda Aylesworth looks at whether someone can live comfortably in the compact space.

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Could you fit your life into just 140 square feet of living space?

That’s an option the University of British Columbia (UBC) is hoping to offer its students.

Seventy 140-square-foot units or “Nano suites” will be built at the Gage South Student Residence, a new student residence building slated for completion in 2019, as part of a pilot project.

Each suite comes with a full bathroom, kitchen equipped with a sink and oven, a small fridge, storage space and a study/sleeping space that includes a work desk that transforms into a bed.

The units are expected to rent for $675-$695 per month.

The development of the micro suites was announced by UBC in June of last year to help address housing affordability and the high demand for on-campus housing.

Andrew Parr, Managing Director of Student Housing and Hospitality Services, admits living in a Nano suite isn’t for everyone, but it might be the right solution for some people.

“We wouldn’t recommend shared living, but for one student, it’s good size,” says Parr.

He says there are a number of studios already available for students and they are only about a hundred square feet bigger than the Nano units.

WATCH: Take a tour of UBC’s 140-square-foot ‘Nano’ student suite

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He adds the Vancouver real estate market is making it difficult for Canadian and international students to find an affordable place to live in Vancouver and the Nano units are expected to help alleviate that concern. Parr says last summer they had to turn away 6,300 students who wanted to live on campus, but couldn’t be provided with accommodation.

“The real reason we are making these smaller is to address affordability,” he says. “This is a less expensive option for a student who would appreciate this kind of living environment, and we hearing there are a lot of them who would appreciate it.”

Parr says there are also the regular dorm rooms that are about 120 square feet in size, but they don’t come equipped with a kitchen or bathroom. Instead, those amenities are shared with other students.

“[The Nano units] are a little big bigger, but really it’s 140 square feet of independent living: you have your own kitchen area, storage area, a place to study and you have a bathroom,” he says.

Student Von Jarin says he is in favour of the idea and says he can see how it could help the university accommodate more people.

“The dorm rooms have lot of wasted space compared to something like this,” says Jarin. “There is not really much here that’s lacking compared to what we have now and it’s contained in a smaller space, so it makes sense.”

“I think it’s a good alternative, but I don’t know if I would fit,” another student told Global News.

A full-scale mockup of the new student housing units will be on display starting today and until April 1 at the AMS Student Nest building.

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