Less really is more

Richard Baker
Insights Newsletter
16 March, 2018

An Auckland apartment complex has just taken advantage of the new Unitary plan and opened without any carparks.

The developers point out the proximity of public transport.

This is a genuinely excellent example of bold thinking which appeals to, and can reveal, consumer preferences. Bravo!

But, in a flight of fancy perhaps, why stop at car parks?

I have always had a problem with kitchens. They are places that vegetables come from. They are also where dishes have to be rinsed, stacked and washed. All those cold, hard surfaces have to be wiped and cleaned and there are few places to hide. There is no sound system or TV and no comfortable sofa.

While beer resides in the fridge, one typically has to run a gauntlet to get there, and back. Eagle eyed and omnipresent cleaning compliance persons run regular patrols. These are people not to be trifled with and they hold the authority to seriously disrupt viewing times and chill any atmosphere.

So let’s build kitchen-less apartments. Beer fridges can be placed in viewing areas alongside dedicated WIFI connections to the local pizza, sushi, fish and chip, kebab, burger or Chinese food supply facilities.

Recycling chutes can connect all apartments and efficiently handle all food waste, cartons, tubs, straws, bottles, wraps, sauce containers and napkins. Think of it as a communal digestive tract.

Next up must be the bedrooms. If the viewing sofa is sufficiently long and comfortable it can serve perfectly as a place to get the minimum 12 hours a night repose. All that is required is a remote control to turn off appliances and lights.

Combining the eating, watching and sleeping spaces into one sofa neatly avoids the cleaning compliance persons who are known to patrol bedrooms as well as kitchens. No more is one compelled to disinfect fetid old piles of clothes.

Getting rid of bathrooms must be the ultimate nirvana. Why not an apartment complex with one communal cubicle. Seats can be left up or down, toothpaste wherever and a professional cleaning service comes in once every few months. What could be simpler.

The savings in floorspace are mind boggling when one thinks about it, and believe me I have. A modest 6 level complex could accommodate over 7,623 people.

The possibilities are legion. It is comforting to know that in this less restrictive unitary plan environment the market, consumer preference and price signalling can really come into their own, especially with a beer fridge. 

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