The other day, I posted a compilation of videos exploring teeny, tiny homes. Some were your archetypical hippy hobbit hole in the country. Others, however, were high-tech apartments in the trendy neighborhoods of major cities

This topic is not new among environmentalists. And with good reason.

The smaller your living space is, the lower your heating and cooling costs are. Not only that, but more compact spaces also encourage a more mindful approach to consumption – forcing inhabitants to whittle down their belongings to those things that they only need and use.

What’s fascinating, however, is that this trend is now reaching well beyond the ethically driven hardcore environmentalist. Tiny homes are becoming decidedly mainstream — at least as far as hip, city-dwelling singles are concerned.

Wendy Koch of USA Today has a fascinating look at why mini-apartments are the next big thing.

Driven by the revitalization of many American downtowns, and the rising property prices that go with it, young people are more than willing to trade square footage and privately owned amenities for a prime location, lower rent and communal spaces. This trend, says Koch, is aided by the digitization of many of our belongings – books, music, etc. – not to mention the rise of collaborative consumption:

“They'll sacrifice space for 'quality’ location, says Doug Bibby, chief executive of the National Multi-Housing Council, a trade group, noting apartments overall are getting smaller. He says young city dwellers manage with less room by renting rather than buying stuff. "They rent everything," he says — Zipcars, even wedding dresses.”

For more on the shift toward tiny apartments, head on over to USA Today.

Related on MNN:

Why mini-apartments are huge
From tiny houses to tiny apartments. The hardcore environmentalist trend has spread to urban hipsters who are gleefully ditching their stuff.