November’s Writing Prompt: Rat Cage Housing

For September’s writing prompt, go here.

October did not have a writing prompt. Hope everyone had a great Halloween!

Rat Cage Housing

Image: Alternative Design Manufacturing and Supply

As of a date eighteen months from now – in order to give people time to prepare – everyone has to live in a structure of the same size. This size is a height, width and depth mandated by the federal government of wherever the people live. People can move into apartment buildings that resemble the rat housing above, or they can build the appropriate structures on their own properties out of whatever materials they wish.

Some people have to downsize their residences. Others get to upsize. What about non-housing parts of a residential property, like backyards and swimming pools? What happens to cottages, cabins, beach houses and second homes? How do people manage?

Setting dominates here. People could inhabit small but fancifully decorated houses, or the government-prescribed housing size could be all they can afford. Opulence should shift from house size to house ornateness. Alternatively, the wealthy could focus their attention toward public works. Their names could appear on every hospital, school and water fountain, much like the advertisements on European football jerseys.

Who is the protagonist? It could be someone who has to tear down a mansion, or someone who has a real home for the first time. How does the person feel about his or her situation?

Are families limited in size once society adapts? Most living spaces aren’t big enough for ten people.

Lastly, but never leastly, what could possibly be the plot? Neighbours could squabble inside housing complexes that look like the picture above. People who would have had large houses could instead build bridges or monuments, recalling the conspicuous consumption that defined tower building in renaissance Bologna. With everyone so constrained, though, where would the conflict for resources arise?

Your literary guess is as good as mine.

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