Why are large companies not producing, selling and maintaining the concept of "Minimum Life Modules"? What I mean is a standardized "module" hosting exactly one human being, with the exterior dimensions of a normal container used in shipping and with standardized outlets for power, Internet, water input and sewer output on the outside as connectors?

Inside, it would feature standardized locations for the toilet/shower area, as well as a table for a computer and some sort of bed. Naturally, they could sell various "themes" depending on what kind of person will be living there. Somebody who never needs or uses a desktop computer could use that space for something else, etc. The important part is the form factor and standardized interfaces, allowing them to be stacked in gigantic and ultra-space-efficient warehouses indefinitely or just briefly.

Traveling would be done entirely inside of your own house. You'd be shipped with existing facilities right to the new location. You wouldn't even need to care that you're being moved, going on as usual until you reach the destination. Where you have all your stuff with you.

The doors for entering and exiting would again be standardized and very secure. They would be opened through some unique identifier on you, so you could even go to an unsafe location and still relax inside your module.

In the large areas housing these things for permanent residency, an annoying/loud neighbour can be easily avoided by simply requesting a new location. Or it could even automatically re-arrange the modules without any action needed, based on previously entered desires and preferences. Of course, they would be quite well sound-proofed either way, so it would not be a big issue.

Met somebody and want to meet?

Joe has requested to pair his module with yours. Do you accept? y

Sue and Joe, living in different areas of the country, both move toward each other without having to arrange any kind of traveling, and soon enough, their modules are synced, docked next to each other. They don't need to think about how they got there or where they currently are. They both open their doors and now they have a two-roomer house. They decide to make it permanent, so now their combined modules are moving as one.

If there is ever "trouble in paradise", they can easily go back to their own modules for a while, until they miss each other again.

In order to not feel claustrophobic, there are large "windows" in the form of flat screens which display a live view from the outside camera of the module that is the furthest away from the stack, or a selection of different live feeds or even made-up 3D world scenes such as an enchanted cartoon forest or a view of space.

It would be so much cheaper and more convenient than a normal house or apartment. I seriously lie in bed and wonder why this is not a thing yet, and when it's coming.

And please don't think I'm talking about some dystopian scenario where they have cameras and mics and spying on all their "customers". These modules wouldn't be just handed out, but had to be purchased. Still, I suppose there would be companies and maybe governments offering them for free in exchange for "telemetry".

If done correctly, however unlikely, this seems like a fantastic yet doable thing to me. And for me personally, it would solve many really serious problems at once.

Why is this not a thing?

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    $\begingroup$ No thanks, this does not sound appealing to me. Also offtopic. FWIW there are other StackExchange forums where this question would be welome. $\endgroup$
    – Pete W
    Feb 18 at 0:13
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    $\begingroup$ It's not a thing because no sane person would want to live like that. $\endgroup$
    – alephzero
    Feb 18 at 0:47
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps because all the countries in the world have not agreed the version of a “standard” toilet, another example is a standard plug for electricity / even the voltage changes. $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 18 at 2:54
  • $\begingroup$ Mostly for historical reasons. They tried this in USSR, lets just say nobody wanted to live in them unless forced. But stuff like this is being built in factories for cruiseliners and trailers. Anyway, the problem is not so much about the housing. Its that rest of the stuff is so expensive thst doing the rest isnt really a problem in most places. And in places where its not the housing should be impossibly cheap like 10-20 dollars or so. This isnt a new idea by the way, in every design school there is one designed in every year. But they miss the point. $\endgroup$
    – joojaa
    Feb 18 at 5:25
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    $\begingroup$ This sounds like an interesting question about a dystopian future on worldbuilding.SE $\endgroup$ Feb 18 at 11:09

They are called park model RVs. There are several million of them in the US. The axles and hitch can be supplied by the tow company if you don't want to move it yourself.

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An even closer fit would be a FEMA trailer, which are built to minimum standard specs.

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  • $\begingroup$ minimum standard unit is a hole in the beach sand near a bublic restroom. really sad. i see many on my jogging trail. they come from all backgrounds. the lucky ones have a one man cheap tent. and the affluent neighbors try to chase them out. this is the renowned beaches of Malibu. let alone downtown. $\endgroup$
    – kamran
    Feb 18 at 2:12
  • $\begingroup$ @kamran That's the second home for snowbirds. In the spring, they head back north or uphill into the mountains. We still have some woods within walking distance of a newish Walmart (fast disappearing due to development). There are lots of summer residents there. In spite of all the charitable agencies in the area, Walmart seems to be the single best service provider to the destitute. $\endgroup$
    – Phil Sweet
    Feb 18 at 12:35
  • $\begingroup$ Also wanted to add ISO shipping contaner expandos. These have been around for 40 years or so. $\endgroup$
    – Phil Sweet
    Mar 3 at 13:04

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