21 crazy photos of micro-apartments from around the world

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mumbai dharavi slumA slum dweller sleeps beside a window draped with clothes hung to dry, in a shanty in Dharavi, one of Asia's largest slums, in Mumbai March 23, 2011. Over 40 percent of India's almost 1.2 billion population live in poverty.REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

The population of the world's major cities is booming.

From New York to Shanghai, more people are moving into dense, urban areas than ever before. And all these people need somewhere to live.

As property values in the core areas of cities increase around the world, the rise of micro-apartments, or living spaces well under 300 square feet, can provide relatively cheap places to live.

Depending on your viewpoint, they are either terribly small or an ingenious strategy for coping with housing shortages.

Check out the photos below of some nice - and not-so-nice - micro-apartments around the world.

Chris Weller contributed to an earlier version of this post.

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On the relatively luxurious side of things, development firms in China rent "youth" apartments to students and early-career workers in Shenzen. Here, a student demonstrates a unit with a coveted loft space.

On the relatively luxurious side of things, development firms in China rent "youth" apartments to students and early-career workers in Shenzen. Here, a student demonstrates a unit with a coveted loft space.

This is demonstration unit, built by the Chinese developer Mofang Apartment in Shenzen, comes with an in-unit washer/dryer.

This is demonstration unit, built by the Chinese developer Mofang Apartment in Shenzen, comes with an in-unit washer/dryer.

Students check out a display micro-apartment at the Pearl River Delta Real Estate Fair in Guangzhou, China.

Students check out a display micro-apartment at the Pearl River Delta Real Estate Fair in Guangzhou, China.

The exteriors of the youth apartments are decorated in ways that appeal to young customers, as this graffiti wall shows.

The exteriors of the youth apartments are decorated in ways that appeal to young customers, as this graffiti wall shows.

The living area is still pretty tight, however.

The living area is still pretty tight, however.

In Shanghai, the story's the same. People need to find creative ways to coexist in tight spaces.

In Shanghai, the story's the same. People need to find creative ways to coexist in tight spaces.

After quitting his job at a stationery store, Wang Cunchun, 93, now shares a 100 square foot Shanghai apartment with his son. He told a Reuters photographer he relies on his pension and a little income from trading stocks as a hobby.

After quitting his job at a stationery store, Wang Cunchun, 93, now shares a 100 square foot Shanghai apartment with his son. He told a Reuters photographer he relies on his pension and a little income from trading stocks as a hobby.

Tech workers often share cramped living spaces, like this one at N-Wei Technology Company Limited in Beijing. Larger firms often rent apartments as dual-use offices and employee dormitories.

Tech workers often share cramped living spaces, like this one at N-Wei Technology Company Limited in Beijing. Larger firms often rent apartments as dual-use offices and employee dormitories.

In the Chinese city of Hefei, patients who can't afford a bed at the local hospital are forced to receive treatment in one of the 86-square-foot rooms in a nearby apartment building.

In the Chinese city of Hefei, patients who can't afford a bed at the local hospital are forced to receive treatment in one of the 86-square-foot rooms in a nearby apartment building.

Mumbai, India's largest city, faces the same problems as many Chinese cities. In Dharavi — one of Asia's largest slums — multiple families cram into tiny apartments.

Mumbai, India's largest city, faces the same problems as many Chinese cities. In Dharavi — one of Asia's largest slums — multiple families cram into tiny apartments.

The cost of renting a one bedroom apartment in Mumbai averages around $190 per month, which is much more than many residents can afford.

The cost of renting a one bedroom apartment in Mumbai averages around $190 per month, which is much more than many residents can afford.

The high cost of living pushed many Mumbai residents into slums like Dharavi, where people pack into haphazardly constructed shanties lacking sewage and running water.

The high cost of living pushed many Mumbai residents into slums like Dharavi, where people pack into haphazardly constructed shanties lacking sewage and running water.

Life, as always, finds a way.

Life, as always, finds a way.

In Hong Kong, skyrocketing property values force some residents to live in cheap "cage apartments." This man told a Reuters photographer he spends $230 a month on a space that consists of little more than a bed and a rice cooker.

In Hong Kong, skyrocketing property values force some residents to live in cheap "cage apartments." This man told a Reuters photographer he spends $230 a month on a space that consists of little more than a bed and a rice cooker.

The cage homes are stacked on top of each other, giving residents little privacy. Here, a man watches TV in a common area in front of the bed he rents for $167 a month in Hong Kong.

The cage homes are stacked on top of each other, giving residents little privacy. Here, a man watches TV in a common area in front of the bed he rents for $167 a month in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's impoverished citizens live in a parallel universe beside the financial center's glittering skyscrapers and ritzy clubs.

Hong Kong's impoverished citizens live in a parallel universe beside the financial center's glittering skyscrapers and ritzy clubs.

In Seattle, students and young tech employees who want to live in the city's center are forced into tiny units, like this 200-square-foot apartment. "I don't need a bigger apartment," Seungchul You, pictured below, said.

In Seattle, students and young tech employees who want to live in the city's center are forced into tiny units, like this 200-square-foot apartment. "I don't need a bigger apartment," Seungchul You, pictured below, said.

While tiny, these 200-square-foot apartments have everything a single resident may need — except for closet space.

While tiny, these 200-square-foot apartments have everything a single resident may need — except for closet space.

Buildings like this one, which has 55 micro-units, are cropping up all over Seattle's desirable neighborhoods.

Buildings like this one, which has 55 micro-units, are cropping up all over Seattle's desirable neighborhoods.

New York is no stranger to the micro-apartment trend, either. This unit in Midtown Manhattan is 300 square feet and contains telescoping tables and beds that descend from the walls to maximize space and flexibility.

New York is no stranger to the micro-apartment trend, either. This unit in Midtown Manhattan is 300 square feet and contains telescoping tables and beds that descend from the walls to maximize space and flexibility.

These units, however, are quite a bit more luxurious than their counterparts in Mumbai and Shanghai.

These units, however, are quite a bit more luxurious than their counterparts in Mumbai and Shanghai.
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