Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

The Yankees/Red Sox Rivalry of Micro Apartments

New York City isn’t the only American city turning to micro-apartments to accommodate its expanding population. Boston is well on its way to developing large buildings featuring micro-apartments, primarily in its Seaport–aka Innovation–District.

Like NYC Mayor Bloomberg who is encouraging micro-apartments as part of the city’s PlaNYC program, which is preparing the city for 2030, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is encouraging micro-apartments as part of his “ONEin3’’ initiative, so named for the 30% of city residents who are between the ages of 20 and 34–a population who, according to one survey, was more interested in proximity to work, transportation, and good restaurants than square footage. In fact, that same survey found that only 30% of this demographic found a 300 sq ft apartment too small.

And like NYC who recently opened the “Making Room” exhibition to showcase small space living solutions, Boston’s Society of Architects is opening the “What’s In?” exhibition today showcasing, um, small space living solutions. And, like “Making Room,” who features a mockup micro-apartment, “What’s In?” features, you guessed it, a 300 sq ft micro-apartment by the ADD Inc design and architecture firm.

Truth be known, Boston has been thinking about this stuff for a while, and the ADD mockup was on display last fall–before “Making Room”. And Boston has at least two building underway with micro-units–more than NYC can claim. Maybe NYC is copying Boston. And heck, we’re all copying London and Tokyo and Hong Kong…

Anyway you shake it, it’s good news for smart and small living.

What’s interesting about the ADD mockup is that it lacks a Murphy bed, a staple in the micro-apartment diet. The apartment also forgoes a dining table for a long kitchen counter, which on a daily-use basis makes a lot of sense. Most of us are far more likely to eat a bite sitting at the kitchen counter than having a proper sit-down meal (this might not be a good thing, but there it is).

While some of these design features were probably motivated by reduced costs, they may also work well with the younger demographic the apartment is meant to appeal to, many of whom rarely eat at home and perhaps because of an increased likelihood of passing out at night, might find the Murphy bed a safety risk ;-).

What do you think of ADD’s design? Could you, would you, live there?

  • Chris_Wo

    Just make these like shipping containers with slide outs like the
    “sleeping alcove.” (This is done with RVs.) Then, major cities can have
    parking garage-like structures that can hold these containers, so if
    you need to move from N.Y. to S.F., you just ship your micro apartment via rail or truck and
    have it placed in a “parking” space in S.F. You own the container (apartment) and just rent the space in the garage-like building.

  • Another thing would be to have the hook-ups (water, sewage, electric) in the same location in every micro apt (to make it easier) but have different finishes as a way to customize it as your own.

  • Lennart Meijer

    If I compare these units to the other micro-apartments on this site, this one really loses. It’s just a traditional, static, interior which happens to snugly fit in the tight space. Nothing can be folded away when you don’t need it, which is necessary to free up some precious space.
    I could, and would, live in a micro-apartment, but not this one.

    By the way, if you’re afraid you’ll pass out after a night out, you can always make your Murphy bed in advance. No excuses there!

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  • di

    To save space, try a daybed or sofa bed. Try a portable kitchen stove top. Try a small triangular, corner bathroom sink without a vanity.

  • di

    For spaciousness, face furniture towards a window.

  • di

    Built-ins are expensive and they may not be versatile for everyone.

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