An OPod home costs about $15,000 to build, Law said. Initially, he added, his firm plans to rent them out for no more than $900 per month — probably as “transition housing,” a low-cost option that allows people to “save some money, and then move on to more permanent forms of housing.”
Cost, of course, is just one consideration when picking a place to live. And not everyone is convinced that pipe life is the way to go.
“Tenants will hardly have any interaction with each other,” Carlo Ratti, a professor of urban technologies and planning at MIT and a leading expert on urban design, told NBC News MACH in an email. “The only shared spaces that I can see — open-air walkways and stairs — looks not like places where you might want to stop by.”
Dr. Dak Kopec, an associate professor at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas who has been outspoken about the potential health risks of tiny homes, praised the initiative as “creative” and “playful.” But he said tiny homes like the OPod units won’t solve any housing crisis. “I see them as an overly simplistic and banal solution to a bigger problem which includes foreign investors driving our housing prices up without added taxes or other financial penalties that allow cities to reinvest in their full-time residents,” he told MACH in an email.
But Kopec said OPods could be useful for urban summer camps, college dormitories, or temporary shelters for homeless people.