Avoiding Macro Mistakes: Micro-homes in Finland Today

Sofie Pelsmakers, Sini Saarimaa, Mari Vaattovaara

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-127
JournalNordic Journal of Architectural Research
Issue number3
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2


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