City of San Francisco tells man he can't live in wooden box in friend's living room

Illustrator Peter Berkowitz published an editorial in the Guardian explaining why he chose to spend $400 to live in a (cozy) wooden "pod" he made with the help of a friendly designer and another friend who was a woodworker, assembling it in the living room of a pal who charged him $400/month to house the pod (tl;dr: The rent's too damn high, with a smattering of anti-regulation philosophy)

City officials contacted him afterward to tell him that his box was a fire hazard and telling him he had to move. They were alarmed that other people might follow Berkowitz's examples and build more pods.

The median one-bedroom San Francisco rent is $3590/month.

"The housing codes, the fire codes and the building codes are fairly restrictive in terms of what you can do inside, in terms of coming up with another enclosed bedroom," said William Strawn, director of public affairs for San Francisco's department of building inspection. "With these types of, what I'll call creative efforts to try and cope with what everybody recognizes is a tough housing market here, you still have to follow some basic safety … rules."

Building officials recently told the website Hoodline that the pods are illegal and that the city is trying to discourage others from building these types of makeshift bedrooms – even if it has become increasingly difficult to find affordable housing in the city.

Boxed out: man vacates $400 rented box deemed illegal
[Sam Levin/The Guardian]

(Images: Peter Berkowitz)