Avoiding Macro Mistakes: Analysis of Micro-Homes in Finland Today

Sofie Pelsmakers, Sini Saarimaa, Mari Vaattovaara


In many European cities, there is an increased construction of micro- homes, and in Finland, they now make up a large proportion of newly built dwellings. This article analyses micro-homes, using generally accepted housing design quality indicators, to evaluate the claimed potential of micro-homes as a solution for sustainable urban housing. A sample of 60 recent residential buildings in Finland was analysed, representing 4007 urban apartments, of which 40% were micro-homes. The analysis highlights that the majority of Finnish micro-homes do not meet generally accepted housing design quality indicators and they fail to provide sustainable living over time. The great majority (79%) of the studied apartments were small, tunnel-like micro-homes, significantly compromising good housing design quality principles such as natural light provision and spacious and flexible living. Our findings challenge the justification of the prevalence of the construction of these units even more so given that the Finnish Land Use and Building Act has required sustainable housing solutions since 2000. Findings also highlight the significant shortcomings of micro-homes, and the article addresses the urgent need for different design approaches to enhance housing design quality to support more sustainable housing development.

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