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Social Media Users Voice Concerns About Dearth of Distinctive Housing Design

In a video that went viral, a woman expresses discontentment with modern apartment trends, including skyrocketing rents and lackluster environments.
Cover Image Source: TikTok | @brittanybeen
Cover Image Source: TikTok | @brittanybeen

In recent times, American apartment architecture has undergone significant changes, shifting away from unique and artistic designs toward bland and uninspiring aesthetics. Despite high rents, tenants often find themselves dissatisfied with the lackluster environments. In a TikTok video, @brittanybeen talks about this trend, saying that the "era of distinctive architectural styles in apartment buildings is unlikely to return," and the boring designs are likely here to stay. 

Snapshots from the video. Image Source: TikTok| @brittanybeen
 Image Source: TikTok | @brittanybeen

The video, drawing 1.9 million viewers, evoked feelings of disappointment over the state of housing in the face of escalating costs. "The apartment architecture is popular because it’s cheap and builders love it, it’s hated for many reasons," the TikToker says.

Apart from rent, the lack of distinctiveness in these apartments contributes to people's dissatisfaction. Regardless of location, every apartment appears identical, devoid of charm or unique features. Brittany emphasizes, "It's cost-effective to replicate in every city."

Gentrification exacerbates the issue by driving up prices and displacing residents. She criticizes this trend, associating bland architecture with corporate ownership and exorbitant rents. Brittany laments the prioritization of cheap materials over aesthetic appeal. "The best we’re going to get are modern concepts that allude to history in the most economical way possible."

Snapshots from the video. Image Source: TikTok|@brittanybeen
Image Source: TikTok | @brittanybeen

Opinions among viewers were varied with many questioning why rents are steep despite the apartments being dull. One user noted, "Cheap to make but rent is over $2k for a tiny unit." A different user remarked on the irony of labeling small studios as "luxury apartments" with high rents.

Another user associated them with student housing in college towns. "And I loathe how hollow the rooms are. Like dude, I can’t even talk at a certain level without the ENTIRE complex hearing me," commented a user. "These new buildings trigger my claustrophobia just looking at them," wrote another.

Screenshot of a comment under the video. Image Source: TikTok|@brittanybeen
 Image Source: TikTok | @brittanybeen

Other users recounted their experiences of shelling out hefty sums for tiny apartments. A user commented, "Isn’t the housing shortage manufactured though? Like I read that there are more empty houses than homeless people in the US." "Love how these were put in my town as affordable housing, but the cheapest unit is $2,000 a month," said another.

Someone else wrote, "Tbh. A lot of this is just an excuse for developers haha. Proper exterior detailing will typically only add an extra 5% to cost." "I feel like they could be more architecturally interesting tho?? Like why make the facades so ugly, add some interesting windows or better ratios," another user remarked.

Screenshot of a comment under the video. Image Source: TikTok|@brittanybeen
 Image Source: TikTok | @brittanybeen

A recent report by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies reveals a concerning trend in the United States, with half of all renters spending over 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities, marking a historical high. 

This surge in housing costs affects a broad spectrum of renters, spanning from low-income households to higher earners. Middle-income renters, earning between $30,000 and $74,999 annually, experienced the most significant rise in cost burden since 2019.

These findings underscore the urgent need for effective policies concerning housing affordability and stability nationwide, as addressed in @brittanybeen's video.

You can follow @brittanybeen on TikTok for more such content.