Too Many People, Too Little Space

nyc-interior.png.492x0_q85_crop-smartSo, what do you do when you have too many people and too little space?

New York City, like many of the world’s large cities, has that problem. More than eight million people live in New York. Manhattan, one of five boroughs (an area or region of the city) in New York, is one of the densest (many people living close together) city areas in the world. There are more than 69,000 people per square mile (about 26,500 per square kilometer) in Manhattan.

The biggest problem, according to New York’s mayor, is that “there are about 1.8 million one- and two-person households (people who live together in one house)” in New York. “But there are only about 1 million studio (small one-room apartment) and one-bedroom apartments.”

Early in 2012, the mayor introduced a novel (unusual or interesting) solution to the problem. He called on (asked) building designers to submit designs (give a plan) for an apartment building made up of “micro” (very small) apartments. They could have no more than 300 square feet (about 34 square meters) of floor space. Previously (before this), the building codes (rules) for New York required apartments to be at least 450 square feet (about 42 square meters). The average studio apartment in New York is about 550 square feet (52 square meters) and the average one-bedroom apartment is about 750 square feet (70 square meters).

In January, the city announced the winning design, called “My Micro NY.” The New York Times reports that the apartments have “all the amenities (things that make a place comfortable or easy to live in)” of modern life – a bathroom large enough for wheelchair users, a “full kitchen, space for entertaining, access (ability to use) to a gym, lounge (room for relaxing), front and back porches (outside area with a roof), and a rooftop garden.”

The apartment building uses a modular design – each apartment, or module (parts that can be put together to make a larger object), is a complete unit that is combined (put together) with other modules to create the apartment building. Some say the design reminds them of Legos, the popular children’s construction toy. Each apartment is built in a factory and brought to the building site (location) by truck.

Each apartment consists of two parts – a “toolbox” which includes a bathroom, kitchen, a table that folds down when it isn’t being used, and a storage space near the ceiling. The second part, the “canvas,” is an area that can be used in different ways – as a bedroom, living room, or study (home office) – during different times of the day. To make the living space easier to change, the apartments use Murphy beds, which fold up into the wall when not being used. And to make the apartments seem larger, the ceilings are higher than usual.

The first apartment building will include 55 modules that are stacked (put one on top of another) to create a ten-story apartment building. Forty percent of the apartments will rent for less than $1,000 per month (the average studio apartment in New York rents for about $2,000 per month) so people with lower incomes can afford (be able to pay for) them. The rest will rent for less than $2,000 per month. The city hopes to complete the first apartment building by the end of 2013.

Anyone interested in a new apartment? You can see photos and plans of the apartments here (use the arrows to move from photo to photo).

~ Warren Ediger – English coach/tutor and creator of Successful English, where you can find clear explanations and practical suggestions for better English.

Photo © City of New York



This entry was posted in Life in the United States. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Too Many People, Too Little Space

  1. emiliano says:

    Warren, I don´t know what to say, it seems to me so expensive the rent on one of that flats that it is the same if they
    are nice to live or not.
    Now what I can see it is that New York it is a very spensive city to pay an condominio, incredible expensive, so if I
    have an idea of living in the Big Apple, that not, it is obviously over.

    The houses and the flats looks fine, very easy of building, just to put one, another on, and so forth……

    What is funny to me is the idea I had before that rents were expensive here in Madrid, but nothing to do with that
    I would like to know how much you have to pay in Tokyo or Hong Kong for renting a little flat.

    Go ahead friends, Betty and some other japanese friend, tell us something about rents in your city.


  2. Lassana says:

    Hi Everybody,

    Thanks Warren for this topic about this currently problem that big cities have in the world, I thought to Paris, Berlin, Tokyo and so forth.

    I Think it’s a very big problem and also a great challenge for designers and architects.

    In Paris (France) many people have not incomes enough to live in heart of Paris (Boroughs of Paris). Many of them lives in neighbourhoods of Paris, about 20 or 25 kilometer or plus.

    High incomes often live in small apartement approximately betwen 9 and 45 square meter. for example my sister lives and works in a borough of Paris, she rents it for about $1,340 per month. I think it’s too expensive !!! but it’s the price to paid if you want to live in the capital of France.

    New York project is is very well the modular design fits to the surrounding. That allowing people who live out of the city to come back because prices will be less expensive.

    These novel can also being a good things for students whose incomes are low !

    See you soon !


  3. emiliano says:

    Thanks Lassana, I knew Paris was very expensive too.

    Now Madrid is not too much expensive, you may rent a nice apartment with one or two bed romos for less tan 800 euros
    if you don´t want to be in the expensive sides.
    Here where I live, 20 minutes by underground to the centre of the city, Gran Via, Cibeles and so forth it cost 600 euros a new flat
    with one bedroom kitchen, bath room and big salón of 18 square meters.
    That´s the amount our dear Peruvian woman, who comes home to help Cuca and me, pays every month. The flat it is a new one
    and very nice.

    So now rents in Madrid are not expensive. After the big crisis and when the house´s bubble explodes every houses sells and rents
    goes down.
    At least there is something good, a single thing like that, with the crisis.

    All the best Lassana and thanks.


  4. Dan says:

    Hi there,

    Why do not Mayor Bloomberg go and learn from the Japanese what they did in Tokyo.
    I am not sure about that, but the Japanese should be the number one in the world doing that.

    Anyone from Tokyo out there, write something. Thank you!

    A second option would be the current view of some developers in Turkey. Take Central Park down and build in there.

    Anyway, interesting piece of news. We’ll see how it develops.

    Thank you.

  5. Peter says:

    Wouldn’t it be easer and more logical if they asked dwellers to move to another part of the city than go through all the hassle of building some unsuall commercial building with tinny weeny units bolted down or perhaps glow down on top of one another?:))

    It is an unusual rather weired use of space. I know they were trying their best to optimize the use of space so every square feet serves a purpose.
    But,To me ,it is not a novel and noble approach to suff rather shovel people into small spaces and ask them to pay for it.:))

    people of authority could have asked them to move out of Manhatan and commute to work everyday instead of going out of their way to build jail-like rather jail-sized condo units.
    Besides , last time I checked Manhattan is too expensive even for affluent people to afford .
    Have you ever been in ,the cost of living down there is staggeringly high.
    So ,explain to me please. How on earth they even think of housing ,accommodating if you will, low income people there. What were they thinking?
    According to the post , The units must be too cramp to live. As a result, There must add another rule to it -that is -the size of residents:))
    By-laws It should be provided that the units are not avialable past a certain size people:))))
    I m a big guy ,how on earth I m gonna fit in there :)))
    And ,what is the length of the hide-a-bed there /))))
    I m guessing my feet from knee down would hang off the bed.:)))

    And how bout the Celling .i mean are there low ceiling or high Celling units ? And,are there any windows fitted in the units and what size ?:))

    Would u explain the method being used for staking one unite on top of another. Are they using crazy glue ?:))))( good humour )

    Tell about the corridors. Is there some traffic rules applied ?:))))
    Are They wide enough for two people to walk along side on the hallways,Or just one resident could walk down the corridor at a time?
    And the elevators ,if any ,are the capacity of holding just one person per trip :)))

    Dear warren ,
    In all seriousness ,Tell me sth
    What is it so alluring about Manhattan that makes people take drastic measures to reside there?
    And ,once moved down there ,they never wanna leave ?

    Is it some sort of American dream or sth ?
    what makes that part of U.S. so appealing?

    What makes Manhattan the Manhattan ?

    Is it just the empty fame or is it really carrying some sort of irresistible allure ?

    What is it?

    Eslpod rules

    P.S. I love NewYork ,but not that much 😉

  6. Wang says:

    We have the same trouble here in VN, Ho Chi Minh City. Of course, living in downtown, it’s more convenient than on the outskirts!

    you could go to work by subway, go to grocery shops by cycling or on foot, hang out at night easily in your cars. For me, the flats is a brilliant

    idea, the design is great but will it be useful for the city? I think it is just a temporary means to approach the problem, to feed

    the hungry eyes which are looking for a most comfortable, affordable and amenity place to live in. For a long way, the governors

    should have plans to direct the flow of immigrants to other areas instead of approving of adding more levels just on the same site plot inside city.

    I meant the point is the ratio of urbanization and population which is here smaller than one obviously. So, if it’s one (an ideal number), the problem will be solved.

    It isn’t necessary to be at one, approximately near that perfect number is enough here, I reckon. Who is responsible for that? The official’s responsibility,

    their macro economic tactics, their strategies for the city. Imagine, the more numbers we add onto one single foundation, the more people are gonna live inside of it.

    And the more people are being directed into downtown seeking for their needs, the more complicated situation will be to confront. You know, not just the people from rural areas but also people from other states,

    cities will be leading to the well equipped, modern cities. Beside that, how about in case there is a fire? how many flammable things are on that small plot at that miserable moment?

    They need to open more satellite cities where there are enough jobs for people, spaces for enjoying and living…spread people out instead of driving them inward ignorantly like what they are doing right now.

    They need to create a really practical plan and we need visual actions.

    Eventually, we are all human beings. We need to work to bring the breads to our table but we also need places for the rest times in convenience and safety. Are the officials able to sense

    what is our needs? our longings?

    Best regard!


  7. Wang says:

    Hi, Peter!

    There is no point in worrying about the glue that will be using to install the flat, one on top of the others.

    With the evolutions of technique, nowadays, we have lots of special mixtures to attach any kinds of materials together.

    In construction, there is a special grout that we can seal steel bars with concrete permanently. You see, such combinations you can’t help imagining that they can’t make it out.

    So, even with different materials we still can force to be at one, you can see how easy it will be with stacking containers, one unit on the others. They are all made out of steel.

    You brought up a good example Pete. Corridors, well, I don’t know how the inside people can get out in emergent circumstances. How people could queue in lines

    patiently til their turn in those such situations. Or they are gonna stamp, trample on the others for their own wills in panic.

    Best regards!


  8. Parviz says:

    Dear Warren
    Thank you very much for sharing this information with us.
    Today is a beautiful day and fortunately I woke up from the right side of bed. I am trying to make it a habit, which makes it much easier much.
    Back to your topic, there is a saying that goes, where there is a will there is a way, and that seems true. The resources on earth are seemingly limited, but nothing is impossible to the mind.
    Many years ago, the great scientist Albert Einstein said: we have created this society, so we have to serve it.
    I am a big believer in development, because let’s face it, it is the only way we can help the society. And when we use our mind, or better yet master mind group, we have no other choice to come up with a way to solve the problems.
    Your story here reminds me of other success stories than men have accomplished. This is true that when you succeed in something, there is still something else to be done successfully and, I think, this will continue no stopping.
    It is really admirable what the mayor and the building designers have done to solve the New York’s plight. Hopefully this pioneering effort by the mayor will be followed by others.
    There are many requirements, as a matter of fact, should be met in order to a city can run well including providing enough apartments for people. After a long work-day out, one might need to take a few ours rest to restore his/her mental and physical power for the next day, which couldn’t be done without having a place where you have access to most amenities.
    I hope that the Mayor will be through the project. So that the result will be a tremendous increasing in the number of people who own a cheap while comfortable house.

    P.S. Your successful website is still encouraging us, great thank for that, too. You are not only a great teacher and Tutor, but also a great coach.

  9. Mine says:

    Happy birthday dear Cuca .
    I wish you a wonderful day with Emiliano and Gatufo.

  10. Dan says:

    Hey Parviz.

    Congrs on your post, that’s a good one. That was for sure the right side of the bed you woke up.


    Hi CuCa Happy birthday!


  11. emiliano says:

    Dear Mine,

    Thanks so much, but how do you know Cuca´s birthday? My mouth is open with astonishment.

    Well, it is the same but be sure we are spending a great day having a good day
    and a wonderful lunch.

    My best to you, Cuca is happy today as she has lot of phone calls and also some personal

    Thanks again, Mine?


  12. Dan says:

    Dear Cuca,

    I you will, look up on youtube for ” Maurizio Pollini plays Chopin Nocturne no. 8 op. 27 no. 2″

    That would be my gift for you. That is a piece I never get tired of listening to. A truly masterpiece.


  13. Betty says:

    Dear Cuca, the most mentioned beautiful and intelligent lady of this website, Happy Birthday to you! 😉

    A little bird told us that it is your birthday today!

    Many Happy Return!

    All the best wishes!

    Betty 🙂

  14. emiliano says:

    Thanks Dan in the name of Cuca.
    Some how I have told you she is like you, needs so litle to live.

    Never wants to give problems to anybody.

    Thanks again, I have told her about your good wishes for her birthday and the gift.


  15. Parviz says:

    Hi everybody
    Thank you Dan,
    I always try to be optimistic, though it is difficult, in this situation to do that.
    But yesterday, I did wake from the right side of the bed because it was this very important presidential ELECTION, and our candidate made it through successfully.

    Hi emilliano. How have you been? Cheerful, happy, energized? Good boy.
    I hear it’s Lovely Cuca’s birthday.
    Happy birthday Cuca. Now, You are 18 so you can vote ;).

    Thank you to All of you guys hear for letting me tag along in this Website, teaching me from your knowledge as well as your courtesy.

  16. emiliano says:

    Mine, Dan, Betty, I have read your mails to Cuca, she is happy and thanks your
    nice wishes to her.

    Betty, your mail to her is so kind, Cuca knows you perfectly well as I speak a lot
    about you and the lot of fans you have in ESL Blog.
    Yesterday morning I wrote a poem for her and sent it to her mail, she read it
    three or four times, and some tears drop from her eyes, so incredible nice
    person like her it is difficult to find.
    First I asked her what do you want for your birthday? tell me which ever thing
    you want, and she asked me for…a kiss, that is the best I like from you she said.

    So is Cuca.

    Thanks a lot to all of you in her name.


  17. emiliano says:

    These are the news on first page of newspapers here in Madrid:

    “The unexpected triumph of the reformist Rohani unleashed joy in Tehran
    The police, before repressive, not interrupted the party”

    There are lot of pictures of people dressed with Green colours and they
    seems to be really happy.

    Congratulations to all the friends from Iran that could be happy with their
    new President.

    I am happy form them too.


  18. Wang says:

    Sorry all, could I know who is Cuca? is that Lucy?

    If so, first, hapi to Cuca too! Then, is there anybody willing to explain to me why she has that such nickname?

    Thank you all

    Best regards!


  19. Peter says:

    Dear Parviz,
    I totally agree with you that warren is a great professor as Jeff and Lucy.

  20. Dan says:

    Hey Wang,

    Cuca is Emiliano’s wife. The guy from Spain.


  21. Parviz says:

    Hi every body,
    As emiliano pointed above, we (in IRAN) were running in a tough Election on Friday. it seemed that we finally have a say on managing the country.
    I hope the Elect president, will restore our country as well friendship with all the world.
    I missed you guys, I has been 8 years since I saw a tourist here.
    Thanks God it’s over.
    We have more freedom, though we have a looooong way to go.
    Thank you emiliano for bringing that up, you are incredible, bro.

  22. Betty says:

    Hi Wang

    It is very nice to read from you again.

    Yes, Cuca is Emiliano’s wife. Emiliano loves her very much and always mentions her in his posts.

    We know Lucy is intelligent, but no one has told us whether she is beautiful.

    Nonetheless, Dan told us he found Lucy’s has a beautiful right eye. He saw it in one of the anniversary videos.


    Now the time is 11am 17 June 2013 in Hong Kong. It is still 16 June 2013 in California, USA.

    Let I wish a Happy Father’s Day to Warren the father of “” and Jeff the father of “”.

    May all fathers in the whole world enjoy this special day!

    Best Regards

    Betty 🙂

  23. Willy says:

    I live in a small apartment at the periphery of Lucca. I pay 400 € for month plus consumptions. It’s a very small apartment and it’s new for me I get this house from two days! So I have to familiarize still. My cat has familiarized yet, he seems very happy about this new apartment even though it’s smaller then previous.
    In the previous apartment I lived with my brother, now I stay alone. I prefer to stay alone. 🙂
    It’s better less space alone than more shared space. When you’re alone you can do what you do.
    There are only some problem when you’re alone. For example when you share the space you also share consumptions and houses’ task as cleaning pavement or changing lettier of my cat 🙂

  24. Narges says:

    Dear Warren,
    The article was very interesting. Here in Iran the minimum size of a studio is 30 square meters. I don’t know way we call these small houses “SUITE”.

  25. Ziba says:

    Hi Warren,

    I think this kind of houses/ apartments are common in some countries. Like here in Iran near the capital, Tehran, a city is growing with those kinds of apartments you mentioned. The name of the city is Parand.

    The buildings contain several stories small apartments and all the girders are fastened by very big and strong nuts and bolds. The toolbox is just bathroom which is carried from the factory to the building.

    Maybe I have one of them in the future

    Thank you Warren for the information. I’m looking forward to reading your next post.

    Ziba (Iran)

Comments are closed.