Jul 11 2012
10:08 am

NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced a city-sponsored competition to design an apartment building full of “micro-units” with 275 to 300 square feet of living space. The project will be in Kips Bay, Manhattan, which is on the East side just North of the East Village. The minimum size for apartments was 450 sq/ft.

Approximately 69,000 people occupy each square mile of Manhattan. There are about 1.8 million 1 or 2 person households in NYC, with only 1 million small apartments.

"City officials said they hoped the building would become a prototype for a new model of tiny, but affordable, housing." Affordable for NYC. The tiny, new apartments will rent for around $2,000, the average rent for small apartments in the area. The units will have kitchens and bathrooms, but no closets.

According to the 2011 Census, the average size single-family new home is 2,480 sq/ft. The average size of new multifamily units is 1,408 sq/ft. The City of Knoxville is approximately 98 sq/miles, with approx. 180,000 people (1,836 people per sq/mile).

How do you not appear to be a hoarder in such a small area?

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Ever read Hiroshima author John Hersey's My Petiton for More Space? Recommended!

Some reviews here.

bizgrrl's picture

Sounds like good book. Does

Sounds like good book. Does not appear to be available any longer. However, the Blount County Library has a copy. Thanks.

michael kaplan's picture

tokyo has been doing this for

tokyo has been doing this for years. the cambridge (mass.) ymca has just converted its upper floors into micro-housing as a way of supporting its other programs. but the idea is way ahead of the ability of the appraising and financing industries to put a price on or finance such development because it doesn't (yet) exist. that defines the problem; maybe buzz goss or david dewhirst could provide some insight ..

R. Neal's picture

Capsule hotel

Tamara Shepherd's picture


From Randy's link:

With continued recession in Japan, as of early 2010 more and more guests—roughly 30% at the Capsule Hotel Shinjuku 510 in Tokyo—were either unemployed or underemployed and were renting capsules by the month.

OMG--that made me shudder.

michael kaplan's picture

right, and 600-800 s.f. for a

right, and 600-800 s.f. for a family in knoxville was not atypical in the post-wwII period.

Bird_dog's picture

tumbleweed housing

I am intrigued with those tiny tumbleweed houses - and the people who live in them. My SIL rents an "earthquake shack" (garages that were converted to emergency housing in SF early last century I think) that is about 400 sq feet with a sleeping loft. It requires careful space planning and tiny appliances, but she loves it! And it IS CUTE. It is a block from The Pacific Ocean and across from Golden Gate Park. Her rent is $1000 a month.

My "granny flat" - a suite within our small house, is less than 400 sq feet but everyone who stays there (it's our guest room until a granny needs it) loves it.

I'm trying to de-clutter and prepare to downsize in my old age. It is hard, but to Tamara's point about hoarding, the problem would be self-limiting if our spaces were smaller, no?

bizgrrl's picture

tiny appliances I've been

tiny appliances

I've been quite curious about tiny appliances. They are used in Europe and, I believe, in large U.S. metro areas. I haven't seen any in my local searches or even on-line.

michael kaplan's picture

Danby (Canada) makes 15" wide

Danby (Canada) makes 15" wide dishwashers. There are small, under-counter refrigerators, narrower sinks and stoves.

bizgrrl's picture

I checked out Danby. They

I checked out Danby. They have lots of small appliances. Thanks

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Actually, Bird, it was Bizgrrl who commented (in her original post here) on our lesser ability to hoard in a small space.

I can second that emotion WRT my modest home's interior, but as Kenny let you know previously (doggone him, anyway), my kids found space for all their extraneous stuff in the garage--to such an extent that there's no space there for our cars!

Well, that problem will take care of itself when they at some point move out permanently.

Unlike my offspring, I routinely clean out and pare down. Quite cathartic.

Rachel's picture

Oh my God - it's Agenda 21!

Oh my God - it's Agenda 21!

Up Goose Creek's picture


Some great online resources for small and tiny houses are the Tiny House Blog and Tiny House Talk. The latter is more contemporary oriented.

The trick for managing clutter is to build lots of storage space.

Some young people are minimalists and make a hobby of paring their possesions down to 100 items.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Spatial relations are my spec-i-al-i-ty, Goose, and I'm familiar with both of those "tiny" resources.

Momma recognized my knack in childhood, I think, and started calling on me at a tender age to rearrange her fridge contents so that she could fit everything in.

Maximizing closet, kitchen cabinet, and bookcase space--without sacrificing aesthetics--are three-dimensional Rubik's Cube-kinda tasks I very much enjoy figuring out, as is furniture arrangement.

Back when I was single and childless (and broke), I'd entertain myself evenings "walking" furniture back and forth between rooms, trying to decide where pieces looked and functioned best.

It's funny, my male child has the same knack--and interest--while my female child lacks it. I expected it would be the other way around?

CE Petro's picture

Not a "young person" but I do

Not a "young person" but I do appreciate minimalism. I've gotten pretty good at reducing what I have, with one exception, my craft supplies. Then again, my formative years were in a 1-bedroom apartment in NYC -- the dining room was converted to a second bedroom.

On the other hand, my hubby, who's father was born and raised during the first Great Depression, saves everything. His father would save rusty nails -- they could be straightened and reused, you know.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I thought rusty nails were craft supplies? Also buttons, bottle caps, and bits of string?

I lucked up on a virtual treasure trove of small bundles of wire in various gauges, along with an assortment of metal springs, scattered on the ground at the county dump not too long ago and excitedly scrapped up my haul right there in front of Gawd and everybody...

Yes, craft supplies are my excess, too. My 40-year collection of beads requires 14 of those clear plastic partitioned boxes to store--all of which I was able to hide away in a good sized square wicker hamper--and my burgeoning "sewing box" now occupies not only a storage ottoman on casters but also three drawers in the smaller of two desks in my office/craft room.

I've worked hard to coordinate an assortment of wooden trunks (some of them sets in staggered sizes, stacked) and covered wicker boxes in a manner that isn't unsightly and masks just how much "stuff" is really crammed into that tiny room.

I've headed up the walls more recently, after mounting a second-hand wall cabinet that matched the desk it hangs over. I also discovered that I was able to park atop the wall cabinet a collection of small metal bowls in similar "distressed" finishes and, because they were positioned so high up the wall, no one could see the assorted craft clutter they stash.

I was so pleased with that discovery I'm now looking for an eight foot-long shelf of some type, to mount close to ceiling height over a doorway along an eight foot-long wall. I could load it up with coordinated storage baskets--even of the sort that lack lids--which mounted so high up could also store tons of craft clutter above eye level? Maybe if I were to paint both the shelf and the storage baskets I put up there to match the wall, I could produce a "cleaner" look in this very small space?

The storage solutions for one's arts and crafts space themselves become arts and crafts projects, don't they?! I very much enjoy working to solve them.

fischbobber's picture


The storage solutions for one's arts and crafts space themselves become arts and crafts projects, don't they?! I very much enjoy working to solve them.

Since we're veering off topic here I'll throw my two cents worth. My thirteen year old has reached the stage in life when it's time for the old "don't expect anyone else to take you seriously if you don't take yourself seriously" talks from time to time. The one yesterday came with a reminder that the canoe had been drug into the driveway and needed to be cleaned and a reminder that he was working on a fishing merit badge that I expected him to do the work on.

When I got home, every piece of fishing tackle I owned was laying out and organized in the basement. I mean, stuff I'd had in the seventh grade, back in the early seventies that I'd forgotten I had was in tackle boxes I didn't even realize I still owned. It was seriously impressive and took up quite the space. Down through the years they had managed to stay stored and made it through the various stages of my life in an ergonomically economic manner and I ain't giving them up.

and yes, collections are fun.

Midori Barstow's picture

344 sq. ft. apt. transforms into 24 rooms

In Hong Kong, because of the space, apartments are small and expensive. Gary Chang, an architect, decided to design a 344 sq. ft. apartment to be able to change into 24 different designs, all by just sliding panels and walls. He calls this the "Domestic Transformer."


Tamara Shepherd's picture


That was fascinating, Midori! And what attractive, livable spaces Chang created!

Did you catch how many people he said lived in the tiny apartment? I heard him mention his parents (plural) and his sisters (also plural), so along with himself that would be at least five?

I've often thought that we Americans will at some point need to "downsize" our excessive living spaces in response to our excessive energy use...

Bird_dog's picture

love it!

Thanks for the Domestic Transformer link!

Midori Barstow's picture

City Unveils Winner of

City Unveils Winner of Tiny-Apartment Competition


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