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Micro-housing or Vertical Housing: Which is the better option for Pakistan?

By 21/11/2022 0 Comments

The demand for traditional homes is shifting towards more modern and sustainable houses. Highly populated cities becoming more congested and housing becoming expensive with time, buyers are looking to enrich their lifestyles rather than buying large houses. Thus, one can see many high-rise buildings in Pakistan, and people have adapted well to vertical living. On the other hand, micro-housing is a new trending way of living that provides a sustainable and fully functional home with many benefits. Thus, in today’s era, people are not limited to one choice but prefer more economical ways of living. A developing country like Pakistan needs both, vertical housing and micro-housing yet there are many pros and cons to these changing trends.

The Situation of Pakistan and its Need for Housing

Pakistan is facing an unprecedented housing crisis and the growth rate of the population is increasing by 2 per cent every year. Since the country is facing many economical challenges, many people cannot afford to buy homes or pay heavy rent. Most of the houses in Pakistan are not durable, especially when a natural disaster hits. Moreover, the low-income population is sleeping under bridges or living in settlements near risky places or shelters, whereas the elite class is living in gated communities. This segregation is causing urban conflict. Thus, there is a dire need for sustainable yet affordable houses. The government is working on the regularisation and improvement of settlements and also promoting vertical housing and micro-housing as a solution which will integrate the settlements. However, a lot of investment and economic growth is needed to reach the goal where most people can afford to have a sustainable and economical lifestyle.

What is Vertical Housing?

It is difficult for a country to grow horizontally indefinitely and puts a strain on the country’s ability to meet the housing demand. As land becomes scarcer and more expensive in the future, the only way to accommodate people will be to build higher structures. Vertical housing is a group of houses built as a multi-story building equipped with shared parts, shared land and shared objects. With the country facing a major shift from rural to urban areas, vertical housing is emerging as a solution as it is affordable, has all amenities and facilities in one place, uses minimal resources and fulfils the housing demand without destroying the environment. Thus, people are more inclined towards it rather than spending on large houses that are not economical. The high-rise and mixed-use buildings are built in small areas but provide residential facilities to many people. Buying a plot or an independent house is expensive whereas an apartment with shared places and amenities provides a safe and sustainable lifestyle. Since all the facilities like security system, gym, sports area, pool and restaurants are in the same place, it saves the transportation cost for the residents and they are more connected with people living in the same area. Vertical housing accommodates more people in one close location and addresses the land space issue in densely populated areas which helps meet the growing housing demand. Moreover, it is an eco-friendly and sustainable choice as so much space is saved by building a luxury apartment rather than a luxury house. It contributes to a greener Pakistan as land is saved for green spaces, making the environment better. However, there are many drawbacks of vertical housing as well. They are the ultimate solution for luxurious living at an affordable rate but low-income households still cannot afford such luxury. There is a lack of privacy in a shared location and a sense of ownership as the land is somewhat missing.

What is Micro-Housing?

Micro-housing is a small living space that consists of one room including a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen area. It has amenities like a studio apartment but takes less space and is usually suitable for a single occupant. Micro-housing is aimed at those who live in big cities where space is limited but demand is high. It is not suitable for families but for young professionals or students who cannot afford high rents and want to save on living costs. In Pakistan, there are many young adults who move to cities from rural areas in search of jobs or earnings but due to a lack of resources and high costs, they cannot afford housing and have to return to their homes. If this problem is fixed, the labour market will increase, resulting in economic growth. Many people will be able to earn and also pay affordable rent or buy spaces to have a sustainable lifestyle. Also, the living cost is less as the utility bills go down. Such houses are eco-friendly compared to larger homes and they are cheaper to buy. Moreover, since they are in the centre of the city, the communal cost to work or universities is less. However, micro-housing must be designed modernly and must be fully functional so that people live comfortably while doing their work rather than being miserable in a small area.

Vertical Housing vs. Micro-housing

Both types of housing have their own benefits and drawbacks but both provide an ultimate solution to the housing crisis in Pakistan. Vertical houses are tall buildings, larger in space with all amenities in one place and provide a luxury lifestyle to a family at an affordable price. Micro-houses are very small in size and are most suitable for single people who are aiming to earn more and save up on their living costs. Both housing styles prevent the loss of agricultural land, making more space for crops and green areas. Since the travelling is vertical, distances are shorter making the transport mechanism more efficient. It helps in reducing air pollution as well as less congestion on roads. A person has to see many factors before buying or renting a place that includes a preference for lifestyle, affordability, location, number of family members, distance from work, schools and hospitals etc. Micro-housing is aimed at people who want to live a good life in the centre of the city whereas vertical housing is a great alternative to a large house. It has all the facilities but provides more benefits to the individual as well as the society than an independent house can provide. Considering the high cost of land and living, both options are great for people with different aims and lifestyles. They can solve the challenge of the housing crisis in Pakistan and make living sustainable yet economical.

Which is better in the long term for Pakistan?

Pakistan is a country among the fastest growing populations in the world, which means the housing demand is increasing with the passage of time. The planned area in the country is already very less and the unplanned construction with horizontal growth is consuming the trees and agricultural land. High-rise buildings accommodate more people in less space with maximum efficiency while micro-housing units occupy even less space, are eco-friendly and save the cost of living. Both spaces are aimed at different people, thus, in Pakistan, both can be used as a solution to the housing crisis in the long run. However, vertical houses may be more sustainable because micro-houses are usually for one to two people and with growth and time, people start families and need larger spaces for accommodation. Vertical houses are of all sizes and can be used for longer periods. Moreover, many poor people who live on streets or under bridges would prefer to live in micro-houses than in the open air. Even if the space is less, they will at least be under a roof till they work hard to be back on their feet. Since both housing types take less space and are eco-friendly, they can be a sustainable solution in the long term, depending on the preferences and needs.


To conclude, the trend of housing in Pakistan is changing with time and the needs of people. Previously, people preferred to live in larger houses and found satisfaction in having ownership of land. Now they are more practical and prefer to live a sustainable yet luxurious life. Vertical housing and micro-housing both have different benefits and aim to reduce the housing demand while accommodating more people in less space. They are the ultimate solution to the housing crisis in Pakistan. Due to the lack of affordability and high inflation, people are adapting to the changing trends. It will help in economic and real estate sector growth, reduce carbon-print, provide a solution to the housing crisis, create more space for agricultural land, provide a better lifestyle for the population and make the community more sustainable and eco-friendly.

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