90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tiny Spaces For The Big Apple

Space is at a premium in many big cities. New York, for example, has 1.8 million one- and two-person households, but only one million studios and one-bedroom apartments. So some cities are trying to encourage smaller living spaces.

San Francisco’s SmartSpace Micro apartments are about 220 square feet. Vancouver’s micro-lofts measure around 225 square feet. And New York City will soon have its own micro-unit building, too.

Last week, Mayor Bloomberg announced the winner of the adAPT NYC Competition to create an apartment building with units ranging from 250 to 370 square feet. To give you a sense of how small that is, a two-car garage is about 400 square feet.

The winning project is a collaboration between Brooklyn-based nARCHITECTS, Monadnock Development LLC and the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation, a nonprofit that serves creative arts professionals.

They call their project My Micro NY.

“After my wife and I moved from Boston, we lived in 350 square feet for four years. It’s totally possible. But the reason many people move to New York is for the city, not the apartment,” Eric Bunge of nARCHITECTS told Here & Now.

Would you live in this apartment? Let us know on our Facebook page.

Nighttime rendering of a typical micro-unit for the My Micro NY project. (Copyright Ledaean)

Nighttime rendering of a typical micro-unit for the My Micro NY project. (Copyright Ledaean)

Guest:

  • Eric Bunge, co-principal architect with nARCHITECTS, which co-designed the winning project for adAPT NYC Competition.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • M K

    I lived for years in an room in Rockaway that measured 12′ x  7′ — less than 100 sq. ft.!  SROs are often that small as well.   There was a shared bathroom on the floor, but the room included a full size gas stove, bed, half-size fridge, counters and cupboards.

    So this is nothing new, although maybe it is for middle and upper income people, lol.

  • Awake_from_the_Matrix

    What kind of a fool would subject them self to prison cubicle style living? Is this what the hip urban life style has come to? I vet the aroma from the toilet is wonderful in the dining nook. You can keep it!

  • Thoramann

    Well, it is fine when they show pictures that are not actually the way people live inside a micro-apartment.  There is usually stuff everywhere.  Also, you know it is just a way to charge and arm and a leg for some shoe-box because the pictures are deceivingly “artsy”.  Let’s be for real.  TWO people?  I think not.  They would go berserk with no place for even one person’s belongings.

  • donniethebrasco

    CWP – Crazy White People

  • Carolyn Peck

    this is inspiring. I hope it happens in Portland, Oregon, where I live…gives us seniors a way to live with less.

    • Mike

       It seems like the Portland city commissioners keep trying to increase population density.  But what is the limit?  At what density will people go “over the edge” and become violent,  because others are “violating their personal space”?

  • Ms. Lu

    Rent?  No mention?  Starting at $5,000 a month perhaps?  I hardly thing anything will be affordable at under a grand.

  • Gradyman66

    Sounds like another step towards Agenda 21!

  • Bobmiror

    FYI, many condo campers (aka:
    trailers) are around 8-feet by 25-feet which is 200 square feet.
    Many people have all ready live in this amount of space for years, in
    my case in the deserts of Arizona and California. One really dose
    not need more space than this if you have space beyond you’re
    dwelling for social activities, hobbies exercise. Smaller units have
    less maintenance up keep giving one more time to focus on other
    activities.

  • AK-Zap

    My family of 5 people lived in small houses and trailers of 500 – 800 sq feet and while small we all had privacy. It can be done, has been done and is a perfectly fine way to live. My current domicile feels quite large at 1100 feet for 4 people.

  • Mtoffgrid

    Why not just make up some pods with feeding tubes and waste lines and then plug them in and use the heat and electrical energy these people produce for the machines, oh wait, that was the matrix. Well this is a good step in that direction, or here is an idea-population control, since the earth can sustain only so many people, why not limit families to 1-2 kids and slow down the viral growth. Per latest studies, cities are the biggest consumers of energy, waste and create and affect the warming climate, making it worse.

  • OneSovereignCitizen

    BIGGER IS NOT BETTER - http://www.fourlightshouses.com/pages/the-napoleon-complex

  • CarrieK

    Forgive me, but isn’t this just a stackable trailer park?

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

April 14 4 Comments

Lessons For News Media After Marathon Bombings

We take a look at what the news media got wrong and what can be learned for future breaking news coverage.

April 14 7 Comments

Marathon Bombing Survivor Loses Limbs But Finds New Life

A year after Jeff Bauman lost both legs in the bombing, he and his fiancée are expecting their first child.

April 11 9 Comments

Inside The World Of Fast Fashion

New styles go from runway to retailer at warp speed. We look at the impact of "fast fashion" and who's behind it.

April 11 3 Comments

Denver Mayor Visits Amsterdam Mayor

Worried about what legalized recreational marijuana means for Denver, Michael Hancock is speaking to his counterpart in Amsterdam.