Would Pod or Capsule Housing Work in Chicago?

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This week my Twitter feed blew up with people talking about Podshare, a business offering what they call “co-living” arrangements in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Co-living has been a thing for several years now, as has Podshare itself. The standard co-living M.O. is to offer furnished small sleeping rooms in shared suites within buildings that offer a networking opportunities, kitchens, laundry facilities, housekeeping and included utilities. The cost to rent one of these rooms is usually substantially below market rates for normal apartments, offered by the day or the month instead of by the year. They’re marketed to underpaid twenty and thirty-somethings in trendy neighborhoods.

Those of you who have been following the “Classified Housing” series in this blog know that housing with amenities of this nature have been around in Chicago for over a century. Those of you who were around in the 1960s or have been to liberal colleges know this sort of arrangement as a “co-op.”

The main difference between the controversial Podshare and other co-living arrangements is the sleeping quarters, where instead of a small room with a door you get a bunk bed in a room full of other bunk beds. Detractors complain that it’s socialism at work and glamorizing poverty. Advocates call it a corporate answer to oppressive housing costs where government and non-profit attempts to cure the problem have failed.

My question is, would Podshare work in Chicago? If not, would the similar Japanese style of capsule hotels work instead? Continue reading Would Pod or Capsule Housing Work in Chicago?

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Kay Cleaves

Founder and owner of RentConfident. She's the primary developer of the website and research engine code. She's spent over 10 years working in the Chicago rental industry and has assisted with over 1200 leases.

Classified History: Housing Ads in Chicago 1901-1933

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I’m back with another trawl through the Chicago Tribune archives, looking at classified ads placed for apartments throughout the city’s history. This is the third installment. I’ve previously covered the periods of 1849 – 1870 (Early Days) and 1871 – 1900 (Great Fire and World’s Fair #1). Today we’ll be looking at the era from 1901 to 1933, an era spanning two depressions, the Roaring Twenties, World War I and another World’s Fair. Since the majority of Chicago renters still moved on May 1 during this era I’ll be bouncing from April to April to find the newspaper issues that had the most ads to pick from.

This is the first era we’ve covered where many of the listed buildings may still be standing. The bulk of Chicago’s “vintage” apartment buildings were constructed during these three decades. Continue reading Classified History: Housing Ads in Chicago 1901-1933

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Kay Cleaves

Founder and owner of RentConfident. She's the primary developer of the website and research engine code. She's spent over 10 years working in the Chicago rental industry and has assisted with over 1200 leases.

Apartment Tropes in Fiction: Myth or Reality?

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Towards the end of last week’s article I went off on a bit of a rant about the importance of studying apartment life as a reflection of modern culture. Longtime readers will know that I’ll sometimes go back in after an article has launched and add a sentence or two as an afterthought. Last week I added the following sentence: “When a topic so central to the lives of so many people is viewed through the distorted lens of folklore, policies and behaviors arise based on assumptions that are most likely false.”

Tropes are fictional shortcuts. They are used by authors, scriptwriters and playwrights to quickly indicate character traits, setting, or get the plot moving in a particular direction. When it comes to apartments there are tons of tropes. Apartments themselves are a trope used to show that the setting involves young, urban characters who are not all that wealthy and don’t have kids. Today we’re going to look at four common apartment-related tropes and see how they measure up to reality based on my own experience and statistics I’ve been able to dig up. Continue reading Apartment Tropes in Fiction: Myth or Reality?

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Published by

Kay Cleaves

Founder and owner of RentConfident. She's the primary developer of the website and research engine code. She's spent over 10 years working in the Chicago rental industry and has assisted with over 1200 leases.

Off-Campus Housing Studies: Think Tanks and Apartment Scholarship

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Over the past few weeks I’ve been looking at the groups across the US that focus on research into apartments, multifamily housing, and related landlord-tenant matters. I started with a comparison of the abundant research into tenant matters and low income housing against the scarce research into landlord matters. I then moved on to a roundup of the recent research papers released by graduate and doctoral students across the US. Last week I provided a list of the universities and colleges across the country with centers or departments dedicated to housing studies.

But not all housing-related scholarship occurs on college campuses. The US also has a large number of think tanks, corporate groups which focus on research and advocacy. Some are for-profit, most are non-profit. Most are based in Washington, DC. Continue reading Off-Campus Housing Studies: Think Tanks and Apartment Scholarship

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Kay Cleaves

Founder and owner of RentConfident. She's the primary developer of the website and research engine code. She's spent over 10 years working in the Chicago rental industry and has assisted with over 1200 leases.

List of College and University Research Centers for Housing Studies in the US

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Now that our pause to discuss current events and our minor site outage are out of the way we can return to our ongoing series about housing and academia. (Part 1, Part 2) Today we’ll be exploring the universities that offer programs in the relatively new interdisciplinary field of “housing studies”.

Some US colleges and universities have been focusing on housing studies in some form or another since the civil rights era of the 1960s. In most cases the programs started as sub-departments of schools of public policy, urban planning, social work or sociology. They may include coursework in all of those fields along with data science, statistics, business, finance, public health, political science and law. Some even include an overview of architecture and engineering, usually from the perspective of green construction and utility usage. In contrast to the more established schools of real estate that arise out of MBA and programs, housing studies programs will tend to offer MS, MA or MSW degrees along with Ph.Ds. While undergrads can certainly get an early start housing studies, most of these programs are for masters and doctoral students only. Continue reading List of College and University Research Centers for Housing Studies in the US

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Published by

Kay Cleaves

Founder and owner of RentConfident. She's the primary developer of the website and research engine code. She's spent over 10 years working in the Chicago rental industry and has assisted with over 1200 leases.