On Monday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the adAPT NYC design competition. It’s his latest effort to add to his legacy.
The adAPT NYC “micro unit” RFP is offering city land, zoning waivers, and subsidies to attract developers.
Bloomberg wants to build “micro unit” SRO housing for young single technology professionals living in Manhattan. Nearly one in two people living in Manhattan are single adults.
Bloomberg told reporters that the apartments are for “one or two people who want something they can afford, and they don’t entertain or need big space.”
New Yorkers are mocking the proposal which calls for 275-300 sq. ft. apartments as “shoe-box” housing. The proposed rents are not cheap at $1,400/month.
In Japan, they long ago pioneered 216 sq. ft. units (which are a bargain at $630/month) and cubbyhole SROs for low wage workers. Please check out The Japan Guy (an African American ex-patriate named Donald Ash living in Japan) to get an idea of micro-unit housing in Japan.
In two videos, Mr. Ash shows what his 12 tatami mats (216 sq. ft.) apartment looks like. You won’t believe the tiny combo bathtub/shower/laundry room and claustrophobia-inducing toilet chamber (5:44 time mark). There’s an ingenious faucet atop the toilet tank where you can immediately wash your hands after flushing. [The adAPT NYC guidelines will require full size bathrooms.]
Mayor Bloomberg deserves credit for proposing an innovative solution that reforms zoning rules and building regulations to lower the cost of new housing construction.  But he should not put the needs of young urban professional singles above those of working class young adults and homeless individuals living in our city.
Our mayor should seek to make life more livable and housing more affordable for current New York City residents.
I believe that eliminating rent control, revising zoning and building codes and creating an environment attractive to businesses are the best affordable housing and anti-homelessness policies to pursue.