Think New York Is Crowded? Try a 300-Square-Foot Apartment

As more and more single people move into the Big Apple, urban planners are hoping to experiment with living spaces built for one.

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Manhattan skyline at night, NY, New York, USA

As if New York City wasn’t cramped enough: earlier this week Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he wanted developers to start pushing “micro-units” — studios as small as a dorm-room-like 300 square feet — in order to meet a growing demand for single-occupant apartments

As the population of the nation’s largest city grows one resident at a time—and not in family-sized groups as it has in past decades—city planners want to experiment with smaller apartments to increase density. More than 46 percent of New York City households have just one member, making Gotham the single-living capital of the nation. But all those people living alone are taking up space meant for couples and families.

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In order to rectify that particular situation, Bloomberg announced on Monday plans to turn one Manhattan lot into an apartment building filled with these miniature spaces of less than 300 square feet — just enough room to hold a bathroom, kitchenette and fold-out bed.

If it works, soon the city may discard the 400-square-foot minimum requirement for apartments currently on the books.

The Associated Press reports that New York isn’t the only city looking at small spaces as the wave of the future; San Francisco developers are hoping to build studios as small as 150 square feet.

Planners now argue that larger space requirements are a thing of the past, a rule put in place when large families were crammed into tiny spaces because of a lack of funds. Nowadays, however, people want the small space, as they live alone, work more and eat out often. Spending less time at home requires less from of their living quarters.

And as singles continue to be the fastest-growing segment of  U.S. renters and homebuyers, apartments designed for just one person may turn into a developer’s hottest project. Just make sure you’re close to an IKEA.

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