Square footage or footage squared?

I’ve always found it difficult to picture spaces when quoted as square footage or square metrage. I saw a vacant shop this morning boasting 1,800 sq. ft. of space. I’m not sure whether that’s a lot or not.

The first thing I do when I have to picture such a space is to picture a suitable layout. So, if the shop was 25 feet wide, then it would be 72 feet deep. Ah, now I get it.

It would be much more useful if the measure quoted was the length of the side of the space if the space was a perfect square. So in the above example, it would be quoted as 42.4 feet. So if the property was square, it would be 42.4 feet by 42.4 feet. (Better still, 12.93 metres.)

It’s much easier to picture a space 42 feet square than one totalling 1,800 square feet. As an aside, I often picture 42 feet as seven people (all taller than myself) lying end-to-end. So now, I have a picture of seven people lying down one side of a shop and seven people down the adjacent side. Much easier to get my head around.

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