Tech's New Big Idea: 14 Person Dystopian Living Pods
Much of the nation is currently in a housing crisis, as anyone who’s noticed the explosion of tents and makeshift shelters in large cities. Rental prices may have dipped slightly during the pandemic, but not nearly enough. Meanwhile, companies like Blackrock are purchasing affordable housing en masse and flipping it for an unneeded boost to their already bulging pockets. This means the time is perfect, then, for some beaded-bracelet tech dickhead to come up with the capital letters Future Of Housing which is somehow worse than every option that’s existed so far.
The latest of these to awaken everyone’s forehead vein collectively is Brownstone Shared Housing, which I don’t think is even a weird enough name to count as a tech start-up. Tech start-ups need to have quick, snappy names that also serve the purpose of being vague enough to shield any full knowledge of how they actually work. So what’s Brownstone’s big new idea? Well, first they rent a 3-bedroom apartment in San Francisco. Then, they bring in a contractor to build what’s basically a huge kindergarten classroom cubby, but for people. Congratulations! Through the magic of disruptive thinking, this apartment now houses 14 adults. Plus, the savings of living in an upsized dog crate is passed on to you, where you only have to pay, uh, $800 a month in rent.
The founders have said that they aim to “preserve the humanity” of the people staying in their “pods” which is not something you ever really want to have to say about your customers. It’s like saying “our housing meets all the stipulations laid out in the Geneva Convention.” I really do admire the mental wiring of start-up CEOs, just for the sheer bright-eyed refusal to ever acknowledge that an idea they had might be stupid bordering on sadistic. They even have the gall to suggest that their experiment into the world of human parking garages will HELP with the housing crisis. A housing crisis, and skyrocketing rent prices, that were CAUSED BY THE TECH SECTOR THAT’S PROPPING THEM UP WITH CAPITAL.
This, or something like this, crops up every couple years, it feels like. Look, tech folk, you don’t have to keep dressing it up as a vision of the future: just admit you want to be a slumlord but act like a visionary.