New York's obsession with teeny-tiny apartments never ends, and now there's a 76-page report to back it upwell, to argue that we could use even more of them. NYU's Furman Center, which specializes in housing, development, and policy, just unleashed a giant white paper (warning: PDF!) that studies the demand and feasibility of building small-unit, high-density buildings in six metropolitan areas that could use 'em: New York, Washington D.C., Austin, Denver, and Seattle. The general argument hinges on two statistically undeniable facts: first, rents are hella expensive, and second, more and more city-dwellers are living alone. Which means that, for the sake of both cost and efficiency, it makes sense to develop so-called micro-units. According that graphic above, there's a good 1.8 million New Yorkers who might be willing to trade in space for lower cost of living. And that one experimental building on 27th Street, whenever it's done, is not gonna be enough.
For starters, more Americans are living alone now than ever before.
About a third of all New York City households are made up of just one person.
New York has more smaller apartments than we do single-person households, however, that might be because sharing a larger apartmenthaving roommatesis so much more economical. Think of how many couples share a one-bedroom, and how many single people can't afford a studio or a one-bedroom.
Cities that are walkable (and New York takes the top honors on this one) are prime for micro-apartments, because residents can easily access grocery stores, parks, and other important quality-of-life features outside of their residences.
According to 2011 figures, more than half of New Yorkers spent more than a third of their income on rent. The pro-microdwelling camp says these types of apartments can reduce the rent burden.
The epic report (PDF!) dives deep into the research as well as what's stopping these kinds of apartments from being built. Have a look.
· PDF: Responding to Changing Households: Regulatory Challenges for Micro-Units and Accessory Dwelling Units [Furman Center]
· All Microdwellings coverage [Curbed]