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There’s a new housing initiative hitting crowded cities that won’t appeal to claustrophobics. We’ve seen the future of urban housing, and it gives new meaning to living in a shoebox. Cities around the globe, including Boston, New York, and San Francisco have announced pint-sized housing plans that address the need for more one- and two-person households.
Here’s a peek at five urban spaces that hint at the future. Let us know if these are great ideas or if they leave you feeling claustrophobic.
1. Don’t call it a studio, it’s a micro-apartment.
If you’re wondering how squeezed for space urban places will be, take a peek at what Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to build in NYC.
In this video clip, Hizzoner pitches building micro-apartments that are one-third smaller than the 450 square feet currently zoned for studio apartments. When you do the math, that’s about 275-300 square feet. That’s a mere 11 steps if you walk from the front to the back of one of these units.
So if you’re thinking "yikes, that’s tight" — hold on. The following apartments give us a glimpse of what life would be like in a tiny urban dwelling.
2. The apartment that takes a cue from the Broadway stage.
Simon Woodroffe is no stranger to the downsized life. He’s the force behind the capsule hotel Yotel in NYC and London’s Heathrow airport.
In September, Woodroffe unveiled his latest innovation, a prototype apartment called YO! Home. It borrows technology from theater staging to maximize every corner of this 800-square-foot unit. Floors, walls, and ceilings are all mechanized to reveal bedrooms, dining areas, and more at the push of a button.
We just wished he saved a little extra legroom for the tub. It looks like a bucket you have to crouch down in.
3. The Airstream apartment.
Patrick Kennedy is a developer who sought out to create the housing equivalent of the Smart Car — and you know what? He succeeded.
Inspired by an old Airstream trailer that he shares with his wife and kid while on vacation, he created a test home called “SmartSpaces.” This tiny place is built to meet San Francisco’s smallest legal size for new apartments, 160 square feet.
The crib's crammiest feature is the SmartBench. It's an adjustable banquet that converts from a dining table to guest bed with a skimpy pad that’s about as thick as a yoga mat.
An MIT student lived in the space for 3 weeks as a test run. Check out the video to see why the student wasn't 100% sold on this version of the apartment. FYI, it has something to do with the itsy bathroom.
4. The origami apartment.
Eric Scneider, the owner of this tidy abode, likes to cook, entertain, and work from home, so he wanted his apartment to function like a much larger one. To address his needs, interior designer Michael Che created a unique unfolding system to maximize every inch of this 400-square-foot space.
Check out the video and see how a bedroom, office, living room, and spacious eat-in kitchen can all fit in one tiny place.
5. The Swiss army apartment.
Graham Hill, the founder of Treehugger.com, believes we all need to live more simply. His new site, LifeEdited.com, is all about how to live happily and more efficiently with less stuff.
Hill is also a housing developer, and he recently created the Life Edited apartment, a prototype home that works something like a Swiss army knife.
This minimalist pad fits 650 square feet of utility into a 420-square-foot space. It can transform into a screening room, sleep 3, and host a party of 10. Plus, the bathroom doubles as a quiet room.
The first Life Edited complex might go up in Las Vegas. Stay tuned.
How do you feel about these urban trends? What kind of impact will this have on city life?
Deirdre Sullivan is an NYC-based writer who’s obsessed with maximizing every inch of her urban dwelling. She’s a former fashionista who has worked for Lucky Magazine and InStyle. She recently traded her high heels and Fashion Week pass for a drill and bandsaw.
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