Tiny Apartment Revolution (adAPT NYC)

I’ve been following the news with interest lately, because there’s been so much coverage of the New York design contest for tiny apartments known as adAPT NYC, and so much speculation about how this is the way we’ll live from here on out. (We, in this context, appears to mean broke young people like myself who move to urban areas. I’m not sure Chapel Hill counts as an urban area…perhaps that’s why I no longer live in a tiny space, although I hope to again someday). For my part, I’m on board – I just can’t figure out why people are so flummoxed about it, and so frequently condescending about small space living. There’s a housing shortage, especially when it comes to affordable housing, in almost every urban area in the country, and yet the most sustainable thing to do is to live within the urban areas rather than in the suburbs. This is about more than aesthetics and comfort. This is, with very little hyperbole, about finding a way for us to survive as a species. How shall we live more sustainably? How shall we live packed in on top of each other like sardines, while preserving some green space? How shall we evolve beyond the two car garage and fenced back yard, which is (all together now) no longer tenable and must stop being the “American Dream”?

What followed Mr. Bloomberg’s announcement was a media frenzy of sorts. There was this snarky and not particularly helpful article on furnishing your tiny apartment, from someone who probably hasn’t lived in a tiny space (and who thinks those of you who do are freaks). There was this much better, more thoughtful article from the same paper’s CityRoom section, which described the motivations for moving to a tiny apartment as including simplicity and efficiency as well as necessity. There was much coverage, and several video tours, of the lovely apartment of Erin Boyle, who writes the gorgeous blog Reading My Tea Leaves.

Finally, there was an entire model apartment built out of paper by the mayor’s office to demonstrate the concept:

Image from a less-than-enthusiastic article about the project at amny.com. Click image to read full article.

Tiny spaces were in the news before this announcement, of course. In June, there was Inhabitat’s coverage of five awesomely little studios. I am in love with this one, which I freely confess is my dream apartment:

(Photo from inhabitat.com. Click photo to see full article; see more photos of apartment  here).

It does seem, though, that tiny apartments are now giving tiny houses a run for their media coverage, and I’m glad to see it, as I think both are valid and viable options…but my own tastes run strongly toward apartment living! What do you guys think about all of this?


One thought on “Tiny Apartment Revolution (adAPT NYC)

  1. Very interesting! In my area of the country (Nebraska) our thought processes are definitely behind the times and we are the stubborn ones not willing to give up our space or 2 car garages…or cars for that matter. Part of it comes from living in many rural areas where public transportation is not an option. Part of it comes from still having ample amounts of space around us. I must say, although I love the look of those tiny apartments, I wouldn’t give up my house and go back to apartment living for anything! All I can remember is the annoying neighbor noise coming through the walls, the inability to regulate the thermostat because the people around you had theirs the complete opposite…and the lugging of groceries through the snow in the winter and up stairs! We now live in what people here would consider a small starter home, although it is a 3 bedroom with a 2 car garage. Funny how perspective is different depending on where you live. To me though, this isn’t a starter home. Why do people need so much excessive space? This home was the standard size of a nice family home just a generation or 2 ago…and now it’s considered small?! Those people had much larger families than the average family of today and they seemed to manage just fine. For us and our “little” home, this is a perfect in between!

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