From compact electronics to capsule hotels, Japan knows how to economize when it comes to space. The latest example? Microrentals. From The Wall Street Journal:

Nokisaki.com seeks pockets of “dead space” around cities and converts them into short-term rental property. In Tokyo, where every sliver of land is at a premium, a few feet of unused private property near the front entrance of an apartment building can be used to sell muffins. A patch of storefront space transforms into an ad hoc vegetable stand for a farmer or a consulting space for a fortune-teller. Those spaces can be reserved at Nokisaki for short periods of time—starting from three hours—and for as little as $15 total.

This just makes for a more efficient use of urban space. Nokisaki’s business model would only work in a handful of super-dense cities like Tokyo right now, but there are hints of this same trend—selling property in ever-smaller, ever-shorter units—elsewhere (see the fight over “coach houses” in Vancouver).

Image: Mansei’s alley, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from oimax’s photostream

(via Microrentals and “Dead Space” in Tokyo - GOOD Blog - GOOD, via @GreatDismal)