Solving Cities

New York City wants more 'micro' apartments

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NYC is holding a contest to create a building filled with apartments smaller than 300 square feet.

In New York City, 1.8 million households are inhabited by only one or two people. But the city doesn't have the housing stock to match the demographic. Only about 1 million apartments in the city are studios or one-bedrooms.

To better accomodate the increasing small-household population, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a contest earlier this week to develop an apartment building containing "micro" apartments.

The "adAPT NYC Competition" pilot project is looking for proposals for an apartment building that mostly consists of apartments smaller than legally required by zoning codes. Specifically, the city is looking for most of the apartments to be between 275 and 300 square feet. If you're wondering: yes, each unit will have its own bathroom and kitchen. Construction of the apartment building will eventually take place in a city-owned lot in the Kips Bay neighborhood (here).

(Mayor Michael Bloomberg walks through a floor layout of a tiny apartment. Photo: Edward Reed/NYC Office of the Mayor)

"Developing housing that matches how New Yorkers live today is critical to the City's continued growth, future competitiveness and long-term economic success," said Mayor Bloomberg in a statement. "People from all over the world want to live in New York City, and we must develop a new, scalable housing model that is safe, affordable and innovative to meet their needs."

With stories of New York apartments that are less-than 100 square feet, it raises the question: does the city really need more tiny apartments? As Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist at New York University told The Village Voice: "We've probably needed housing for singletons for a long time, but we haven't recognized that need. We haven't really recognized the prevalence of people living alone in cities."

The fact that people are willing to live in sub-100 square foot apartments is more of a sign that small apartments are needed more than anything.

Top Photo: Flickr/colin_n

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Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure