British Columbia

UBC students move into new micro units as waitlist grows for on-campus living

The 140-square-foot apartments have a small kitchen, bathroom and a Murphy bed that turns into a desk. UBC says the units have been "incredibly popular."

More than 6,000 students are wait-listed for campus housing

Third-year UBC student Yvonne Ko gives a tour of her 140-square-foot nano suite on campus. Ko pays about $700 a month for it. (Nic Amaya/CBC)

More than 5,000 University of British Columbia students moved onto campus in Vancouver this Saturday, including into 71 new "nano suites."

The 140-square-foot apartments have a small kitchen, a bathroom, and a Murphy bed that turns into a desk. 

Andrew Parr, managing director at UBC's student housing and hospitality services, said so far the units have been "incredibly popular and well-received."

"It's a really positive early indication from students," Parr said. "We're pretty optimistic that this will be a positive pilot."

Thousands on wait list

Parr said the primary reason for building the units was to provide a range of affordable living options for students. The apartments rent for $701 per month, which Parr said is half of what a one-bedroom would cost on campus. 

The apartments are part of The Exchange, a new building built on top of the new bus terminus in the centre of campus, and is part of the university's ongoing efforts to keep up with housing demands.

The Exchange is UBC's newest residence. It has room for up to 651 students. (Nic Amaya/CBC)

Parr says UBC has added 4,000 student beds in the past eight years, at a cost of $500 million, but there are still 6,000 students on the wait list for campus housing. 

The new Exchange building houses up to 651 students and offers a mix of units from the nano units to four-bedroom apartments.

'Perfect living space'

Third-year student Yvonne Ko, 19, was one of the students who scored a nano suite. Ko lived on campus for her first year of studies, but wasn't offered housing last year. 

"This has been the best decision because it's very affordable, and it's such, like, the perfect living space for me," Ko said. 

Go on a tour of a new 'nano suite' at UBC


2 years ago
Third-year UBC student Yvonne Ko gives a tour of her new nano suite on campus. 1:27

Parr said the university will collect feedback from students over the next two years before building more nano units.

The university is the largest campus housing provider in Canada with 12,400 beds on offer, Parr said, and land set aside for 5,600 more. 

With files from Estefania Duran


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