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The problem of homelessness is a real issue across the globe, and providing adequate housing solutions for these poor people is a very demanding task. San Francisco might soon get an innovative solution to the problem though, in the form of modular housing units designed and built by the local company Panoramic Interests. These so-called MicroPADs (Prefabricated Affordable Dwellings) are modular, stackable self-contained units.

Each MicroPAD measures 160 sq ft (14 sq m) and features a kitchenette, a sleeping area, and a bathroom. The units have a steel shell and a good amount of glazing which makes them appear more spacious than they are. They also have 9 ft (2.7 m)-high ceilings, which also prevents them from appearing too cramped. The kitchenette is well-sized, while the bathroom features a shower and toilet. There is also a bed, a good amount of storage space, and a desk. It is also possible to adapt the basic layout so that the units are easily accessible by the disabled.

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The units would be stacked one atop another to a maximum height of 12 stories. The ideal place for such a complex would be an infill, which would also keep the costs down. The designers also claim that it would be possible to deploy the units atop existing buildings, such as parking garages, for example.

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Panoramic Interests is currently looking for investors to build the first units in San Francisco. All the units will be prefabricated in a factory and assembled on-site. They will then lease the entire development to the city, leaving it up to them to choose the homeless people who would get one of the tiny apartments.

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According to the company, the MicroPADs exceed San Francisco’s earthquake regulations. The units can also be constructed almost 50 percent faster than comparable non-prefab structures, while also costing about 40 percent less. The rent would be paid by the city and would come to about $1000 per month per unit, which is pretty steep.