Micro Apartments in NYC

A micro apartment is, as its name indicates, a small residential dwelling intended for a single person or couple. Most micro apartments are located in dense cities, such as New York City, where the necessity for micro houses has recently increased, as many people want to live closer yet cheaper to the center of big cities. (Ravenscroft, 2017)

The size of micro apartments lies between 200 to 400 square feet, and mostly consist out of one room. The small size of the dwellings is a problem in New York City, and technically illegal. According to 1987 zoning laws, all residential dwellings require an area of at least 400 square feet. In order to develop micro apartments, one must either find an apartment built before 1987 (with an already existing small area), or obtain a special waiver from the city.

An example of neglection of the zoning laws came in 2013, when Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of NYC, organized a competition called adAPT NYC to build micro apartments in Manhattan. The winning project, Carmel Place, is located in Manhattan’s Kips Bay neighborhood and finished in 2016. The project consists of 55 separate flats, with a size ranging from 250 to 370 square feet.

Micro apartments can be one of the solutions to the lack of affordable housing for younger residents of dense cities, such as students and graduates. Limited living space in order to live in an affordable place near the center of the city is for many starters a sacrifice they are willing to make. And with micro apartments gaining popularity under architects, new apartments mostly offer innovative design and features, optimizing the limited space. (Kotecki and Dec, 2018)

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