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Thread: The nitty gritty: how many square feet (meters) does a person need to live in

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    The nitty gritty: how many square feet (meters) does a person need to live in

    I've recently seen a couple of "Off the grid town" designs/plans. From what I can see they allocate very little space for each domicile and that got me thinking. How much space does the average person need in order to feel comfortable and stress-free.

    I'm pretty sure the "mini hotel rooms" from Japan are far too small. Who Needs a Mini Fridge Anyway, Right? | Asia Society

    I'm also quite certain that several thousand square feet (200+ sq m) per person is excessive unless each person is growing food using part of that space or some other activity.

    What is the ideal amount of space per person? What is the benefit of having a small space (force one to engage in social activities) versus the psychological issues caused by being in a relatively cramped space - aka cabin fever.
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    Area for food for a family, 76000 sq ft. using aquaponics can reduce that with 90%.

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    After some browsing:

    150 sq ft living space per person. That's cabin size. That's about minimum for a complete minimal small house. Below that you have the houses with folding beds or really tiny.

    500 sq ft per person ft is very comfortable. Above that is considered (too) big. Also saw 800 + 200 per extra person as definition.

    100 sq ft per person for an (home) office.

    Kids prefer to play in a nearby playground or on the streets and not the garden if they have a choice. At least mine do. No idea how much sq ft is needed for that.

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    Ive read a book by Martin Beech, called : "terraforming: the creation of habital worlds", which touches on this topic (p61-67).

    in jul 2007, there were 6,600,000,000 people on the planet.

    estimated total land where humans might permanently live is 149,000,000 km2

    So we have the potential to have .023 km2 each available to us on average.

    however, if we we look at where we currently live (1/2 the humans alive live in the space taken up by our cities, and urban areas) it currently (july 2007) equates to the size of the country of Algeria (11th largest country) if we relocated every city next to each other in one sprawling mass (surface area of 2,400,000 km2).

    So if we had two algerias we could house all of humanity in that amount of space (based onm what we currently do). We would then need to feed these people and so would need some additianal space for food and water and manufacturing, so lets say another algeria, if we use things like vertical farming and alternate energy sources, which still leaves a lot of space untouched.
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    That's a huge area per person, almost 250,000 square feet!

    ... section removed by author ...

    If we built skyscrapers for housing and for vertical farms then the entire rest of the globe could be returned back to nature. Presuming, of course, that South America had all of the natural resources we need; of which I am totally ignorant at this point in time.
    Last edited by WorldCitizenUSA; 06-07-2013 at 04:52 AM.

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    I have heard south america referred to as the lungs of the world, so its probably better to build housing on infertile land like deserts etc, so the "functioning" parts of the planet still remain (im sure deserts have a useful purpose to the environment, but I think they are realativity less useful). I cant remember the reference (might be the same book) but i believe we build most of our cities on fertile land (next to rivers etc), where originally settlers could grow food, but over time cities expand and now the best land is covered by the concrete jungles we build, inaccessable.

    The benefit of having everyone living together (not that its ever likely to happen) is that the energy required for transportation and distribution is minimal as well, although putting all your eggs in one basket (area) may have isses as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glueparkenigma View Post
    I have heard south america referred to as the lungs of the world, so its probably better to build housing on infertile land like deserts etc, so the "functioning" parts of the planet still remain (im sure deserts have a useful purpose to the environment, but I think they are realativity less useful). I cant remember the reference (might be the same book) but i believe we build most of our cities on fertile land (next to rivers etc), where originally settlers could grow food, but over time cities expand and now the best land is covered by the concrete jungles we build, inaccessable.

    The benefit of having everyone living together (not that its ever likely to happen) is that the energy required for transportation and distribution is minimal as well, although putting all your eggs in one basket (area) may have isses as well.
    I need to redo my calculations anyway. I think I missed a step somewhere. I was trying to calculate for single story houses when I should have been using figures for skyscrapers. ??? Oops

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glueparkenigma View Post
    I have heard south america referred to as the lungs of the world, so its probably better to build housing on infertile land like deserts etc, so the "functioning" parts of the planet still remain (im sure deserts have a useful purpose to the environment, but I think they are realativity less useful). I cant remember the reference (might be the same book) but i believe we build most of our cities on fertile land (next to rivers etc), where originally settlers could grow food, but over time cities expand and now the best land is covered by the concrete jungles we build, inaccessable.

    The benefit of having everyone living together (not that its ever likely to happen) is that the energy required for transportation and distribution is minimal as well, although putting all your eggs in one basket (area) may have isses as well.
    South America is only as pristine as it is because few people live there and until recent decades there wasn't much industry. In my post I mentioned that the rest of the world - the entire remaining portion of the world - would revert back to nature (no humans) so that should enter into your calculations in some way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WorldCitizenUSA View Post
    South America is only as pristine as it is because few people live there and until recent decades there wasn't much industry. In my post I mentioned that the rest of the world - the entire remaining portion of the world - would revert back to nature (no humans) so that should enter into your calculations in some way.
    Looking at the statistics from where I live. 20 % is for buildings (residential (8%), commercial (0.5%), industrial and roads (6.4%)) with 350 p/sqkm (usa=30 p/sqkm). 50% is agriculture. Rest is nature and water. Reducing the amount used by agriculture seems to have the most effect to reduce the amount of space used by humans.

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    Reducing the amount used by agriculture seems to have the most effect to reduce the amount of space used by humans.
    i agree completely. Agriculture currently takes up more than half the arable land on the planet Agricultural land (% of land area) | Data | Map

    we've got Vertical Farms as an urban alternative
    The Vertical Farm Project - Agriculture for the 21st Century and Beyond | www.verticalfarm.com

    we've got Sustainable Domes as a rural alternative
    http://www.sustainabledomes.com/

    and we've got food co-operatives, foodnotlawns and small scale organic agriculture as sub-urban and peri-urban alternatives
    Københavns Fødevarefællesskab | Økologiske fødevarer ? til fair priser ? gennem arbejdende fællesskab
    Food Not Lawns - Welcome
    Russians Proving That Small-Scale, Organic Gardening Can Feed the World | Reclaim, Grow, Sustain

    it is my opinion that the problem is not one of over-population, but one of resource management. when we define the problem as one of over-population, the solution becomes one of population control. thus the solution is limited by the parameters of the defined problem. But over-population is not a root cause in-and-of itself, the root cause of the problem lies within our economic system.
    droneBEE likes this.
    Abundance and Access Through Anarchism
    http://robcayman.tumblr.com/post/347...get-restraints

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