| NEW YORK, July 9
NEW YORK, July 9 Could apartments in New York
City get any smaller? Mayor Michael Bloomberg hopes so.
On Monday he announced a competition for architects to
submit designs for apartments measuring just 275 to 300 square
feet (25.5 to 28 square meters) to address the shortage of homes
suitable and affordable for the city's growing population of
one- and two-person households.
"People from all over the world want to live in New York
City, and we must develop a new, scalable housing model that is
safe, affordable and innovative to meet their needs," the mayor
said in a statement announcing the "adAPT NYC" competition.
Bloomberg said the city plans to waive zoning requirements
at a city-owned lot in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan to
allow the construction of a building filled with the
They will be about four times the size of a typical prison
cell and about one-fortieth the size of the mayor's Upper East
Officials say there are about 1.8 million one- and
two-person households in New York City, but only about a million
studio and one-bedroom apartments - a sign, they say, that the
city's housing stock has not kept up with its changing
Young, single New Yorkers in particular can find it hard to
find an affordable apartment as demand outstrips supply.
The mayor is calling for proposals over the next two months
for a building containing about 80 micro-units, all of which
must have kitchens and bathrooms.
Ideally, they should also have "substantial access to light
and air to create a sense of openness," according to the
The apartments, once built, will be sold or rented on the
open market. The city will not be subsidizing the project. If
successful, the pilot project could help usher in a loosening of
the city's zoning laws regarding minimum housing size.
Under New York City's zoning regulations, the average
apartment size in a new building must be at least 400 square
feet (37 square meters), although there are exceptions to the
The mayor said the project is part of his plan to create or
preserve 165,000 affordable homes in the city by 2014.
Although the new apartments will be cozy in realtor-speak,
they are unlikely to break any size records. One couple paid
$150,000 for a 175-square-foot (16-square-meter) studio in
Manhattan in 2009, according to the New York Post.
(Editing By Barbara Goldberg and Xavier Briand)