Mayor Bloomberg standing in a 2D model of a "micro-apartment."
Image courtesy of the GlobalGrind.
'The 80 new "micro-apartment" units will be centrally located Manhattan's Midtown Kips Bay district on 27th Street.
The Bloomberg administration recently announced a design competition [RFP] open to architects who wish to design tiny apartments in an effort in catering to a growing number of single member households. The initiative has come under fire from the GlobalGrind in their article that calls these new 275 to 300 square foot apartments "Jail Cell Like Apartments."
However, I would argue that New York City needs a larger stock of smaller sized apartments that are affordable for single, young, creative types of individuals who may just be starting their career out of college.
As a test, I searched for cheap New York city apartments by doing a Google search for:
"cheapest new york city apartment manhattan"
and found the following apartments from New York Urban Living, one of the top search results:
It's no doubt that the lowest prices I found in the entire database of New York Urban Living are outside of Manhattan (highlighted in green on the chart above), while the cheapest apartment in Midtown was closer to around $2,000 US per month. Affordability?
A current NYTimes article cites how landlords like Ben Shaoul are converting rent stabilized apartments to market rate apartments. With the upscaling, comes increases in rent. But with these increases in rent, where do the young, creative types go? Is there an affordable place for them to live (where they want to live)?
After living in Seoul, South Korea for the past year, I've come to learn that there are a diversity of housing choices that provide affordable alternatives to those who can't afford huge up-front deposits and hefty monthly rents.
The image to the right is of a small room in a dormitory called a "One-room tel" (원룸텔), that features a small bed, private shower/bath booth, and a desk/television/internet/air conditioner. There are many of these units in a dormitory style of environment where the kitchen and laundry facilities are often shared among fellow renters.
A couple of friends I know are able to live in one of Seoul's most vibrant areas called Gangnam, due to the affordability of these "one-room tel" residences primarily because they range in price around $500-$600 US per month, utilities included in the rent (with one month's rent as a housing/key deposit). Rents could be cheaper in other parts of Seoul that are not as vibrant.
In closing, I hope the City of New York continues to pursue these "micro-apartments" in an effort to keep Manhattan and New York City affordable for not just the 1% of bankers and stock brokers, but for the 99% of us who wish to live in a vibrant, urban cityscape where anything is possible.
Note: For a full list of renting an apartment in Korea, feel free to check out Korea4Expats or Exploring Korea since they both have lengthy posts about the types of renting options that Korea has to offer.
Inside of a one-room tel apartment in Seoul, South Korea. It is one of the options for affordable housing that appeals to creative singles. Average monthly rents range from $300 - $600 US per month with only a one month key deposit.
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If the pictures of Gangnam were not enough for you and are curious about how Seoul really looks and feels, I would recommend the video to the left and skip around to get a better feel for the neighborhood.
I am unfamiliar with the narrator, but from the parts I skipped around to, he provides a pretty in depth analysis about Gangnam and other inside details about how the district really is.