I think this is an idea whose time has come again, and that New Orleans would be one of the best places to do this. I think it's important that is only allowed in specific areas of the city and with specific house types with detailed regulation to oversee the other issues. But the backlash against sites like airbnb.com speaks to the corporate world's desire to keep the status quo of escalating prices and the unapproachable dream of home ownership for most, unfortunately.
Some of the types of housing he's talking about have in fact been built under the label of "apodments" in Seattle, where clever developers have created neo-rooming houses within the city's eight-person occupancy limit inside what they're legally treating as townhouses. The units, basically a bedroom with a tiny bathroom and a microwave, are even smaller than the micro-apartments New York and San Francisco have begun considering. They're more like dorm rooms, some as small as 120 square feet. And they sell for about $500, half of what studios cost in these same neighborhoods.
It's easy to imagine who would line up to oppose these ideas. In fact, opposition would likely include some of same groups who objected to this kind of housing in the first place: well-meaning people who want to protect the low-income, the not-so-well-meaning who don't want housing like this in the neighborhood, and property owners not particularly interested in having rents fall on their existing housing. There would also likely be another class of objections that didn't exist in 1910: If we let 20 neo-boarding house units wedge into a modest building, where will all those renters park their cars?
Is It Time to Bring Back the Boarding House? - Emily Badger - The Atlantic Cities