Housing Specification Blog

Big Apple to Build Miniscule Apartments

July 18, 2012 Alexandra Blakeman Planning & Legislation

Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg has set out plans to introduce a ‘micro renting’ culture into the metropolis. Last Monday (9th July) Bloomberg launched the adAPT NYC competition to seek out viable housing alternatives for the city.

New York is home to 3.1million households. Click on image for original source.

NYC has 1.8 million one and two person households, and only one million studios and one bedroom apartments.  The adApT NYC competition requests proposals for rented accommodation which consists entirely of ‘micro units’ – apartments which are smaller than the legal minimum. New York’s changing demographic and fluctuating population necessitates more affordable housing solutions.

The initiative has been granted the permission to bypass the 1987 requirement which states that all apartments should exceed 400 sq ft. Some might argue that we’ve seen this all before – cramming the city’s poorest residents into cramped and unliveable conditions. To counteract accusations of historical relapse, the initiative is promoting sustainable and ethical building practices. It is hoped that the adAPT NYC will better equip authorities to meet housing demand for today’s New Yorkers.

“New Yorkers can be better served by adapting the city’s apartment models to allow more efficient and sustainable homes,” said Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability Director David Bragdon. “Today’s announcement is fulfilment of the pledge in PlaNYC, the Mayor’s long-term sustainability strategy, to update the City’s regulations to better accommodate the population and demographics of the future.”

Will the micro renting culture catch on in London? The city is so oversubscribed that it might just be the only solution. It’s hard to imagine people wanting to live in such cramped conditions, but affordability overrides all into today’s climate. Bloomberg’s ‘micro units’ are expected to be slightly bigger than an average prison cell. Urbanity gone mad, or sensible solution to overcrowding? Arguably micro renting is the only way to accommodate the escalating population in an environmentally sympathetic way.


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