Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A tiny apartment could drive you nuts

From The Atlantic Cities:

...as New York City’s “micro-apartment” project inches closer to reality, experts warn that micro-living may not be the urban panacea we’ve been waiting for. For some residents, the potential health risks and crowding challenges might outweigh the benefits of affordable housing. And while the Bloomberg administration hails the tiny spaces as a “milestone for new housing models,” critics question whether relaxing zoning rules and experimenting with micro-design on public land will effectively address New York’s apartment supply problem in the long run.

“Sure, these micro-apartments may be fantastic for young professionals in their 20's,” says Dak Kopec, director of design for human health at Boston Architectural College and author of Environmental Psychology for Design. “But they definitely can be unhealthy for older people, say in their 30’s and 40’s, who face different stress factors that can make tight living conditions a problem.”

Home is supposed to be a safe haven, and a resident with a demanding job may feel trapped in a claustrophobic apartment at night—forced to choose between the physical crowding of furniture and belongings in his unit, and social crowding, caused by other residents, in the building’s common spaces. Research, Kopec says, has shown that crowding-related stress can increase rates of domestic violence and substance abuse.

For all of us, daily life is a sequence of events, he explains. But most people don’t like adding extra steps to everyday tasks. Because micro-apartments are too small to hold basic furniture like a bed, table, and couch at the same time, residents must reconfigure their quarters throughout the day: folding down a Murphy bed, or hanging up a dining table on the wall. What might seem novel at the beginning ends up including a lot of little inconveniences, just to go to sleep or make breakfast before work. In this case, residents might eventually stop folding up their furniture every day and the space will start feeling even more constrained.


Anonymous said...

Can you say FIRE TRAP? Is the city going to waive City fire codes for the builders? Has the NYFD or the Firefighters' Union weighed in on this? If they actually build any of these units, I guarantee that residents and firefighters trying to rescue them WILL die in fires.

Anonymous said...

And you know that at least 2 families of 6 each will be living in them in Queens!

Anonymous said...

How about trying deportation first to free up some living space? 1.5 million illegals.....1.5 million of them deported is alot of space! That probably equals out to about 500000 living spaces opening up.....just saying....common sense does wonders if the ny government would just use it.

Anonymous said...

Where's the bathroom?

Anonymous said...

"Sure, these micro-apartments may be fantastic for young professionals in their 20's..."

No, these things aren't fantastic for anybody except maybe a hamster.

All we're seeing here is an attempt to legitimize the building of what will eventually become slums. Why? So that developers can make even more money. (Newsflash! A developer would sell his own child into prostitution to make a quick buck if you let him.)

Didn't New York go through this exercise over 100 years ago and reject this way of thinking? Have the city officials who think this is just dandy ever even heard of Jacob Riis? Oh yeah, there's that park. But they probably have no idea what he wrote.

Regulations need teeth and need to be enforced. Stupid ideas like micro-apartments are what they're supposed to prevent.

Roger said...

I lived in a studio apartment for three years when I was in my early forties, with an iKEA couch that converted into a bed at night. I loved that place.

Anonymous said...

When you were in your 40s? ROFLMAO!!!

Anonymous said...

"domestic violence"??? You mean to tell me TWO people could live in one of these hamster-cages?

This is a bad, bad, bad idea. What about the ADA? Or does the City think they can waive that? - Reminder: it didn't work the last time, as the Dept of Justice demonstrated with a rather large judgement against our fair city...

Joe Moretti said...

This is pretty much the equivalent of the urban housing projects of the sixties (a huge American failure), except smaller.

And we all know how those turned out, can you say Chicago's Cabrini Green.

Really stupid fucking idea, that of course some New Yorkers will think is fantastic.

We are moving backwards as usual.

Anonymous said...

Just so that everyone understands. When they're talking about micro-apartments, they're talking about spaces a LOT smaller than a studio apartment - hence the need for the relaxation of zoning standards.

To me, the really peculiar thing is why do we want to look at third-world ideas for what is still a technically first-world city? How about reinvesting in and expanding the transit system instead?

Anonymous said...

"How about reinvesting in and expanding the transit system instead?"

SHUT YOUR COMMON SENSE TRAP! This is still Bloomberg's fief for 7 more days!

Jim Casey said...

Given the crap construction I see here in Queens, I have to agree with those that refer to these nightmares as potential Fire (or death) traps. It'll take a catastrophe to have NYC gov't wake up. Not to mention a helluva big lawsuit.

Over the past twenty years, we've seen the building of substandard, ugly and overcrowded apartments. It's only going to get worse. A house next door to my late father's (just south of 35th) had 15 people living in the subdivided basement alone-all in illegal apartments.

As one mentioned here-has NO ONE ever heard of Jacob Riis? It seems no one has.

Flushing, for the most part, has been destroyed by NYC so it can maximize it's tax bas at the cost
of a livable neighborhood. Even at it's worst, I've never seen Main St. so absolutely filth and crowded-we will see that again with these micro-apartments.

Maybe it really is time to leave....

J said...

these were designed for the hipster/trust fund babies/beta dicks that were the funsize mayor's constituents and now are theBlaz's(of course everyone has seen their kids with their hairstyles and affected voices).

the DOB under the funsize mayor as with the DEP and the DOT have been collectively lobotomized and the new boss will not change a damn thing,there will be more of these douche motels with the slight possibility that the rent will be cheaper.

I guess they came up with these designs because the majority of these new new yorkers bodies resemble praying mantises and can adjust to their apts after years of playing tetris and yoga classes.