Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Apartment that Simon Built

It was Julian Simon who wrote in the Ultimate Resource 2 (p12):
Greater consumption due to increase in population and growth of income heightens scarcity and induces price run-ups. A higher price represents an opportunity that leads inventors and businesspeople to seek new ways to satisfy the shortages. Some fail, at cost to themselves. A few succeed, and the final result is that we end up better off than if the original shortage problems had never arisen.
In Hong Kong, population density means space is at a premium. Responding to high rents and tight quarters, architect Gary Chang found a way to fit 24 rooms into one.

The narrator calls the house "a technological marvel" but there's nothing in inherent the idea which prevents it from being implemented 10, 20, or 50 years ago (and to lesser degrees, such an idea has been used before). What's important is that all this amazing apartment took was hard work and some creativity, effort that might not have been worth the time if Hong Kong had fewer people in it.

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