New York mayor combats housing shortage with 275 sq ft “micro-units”

Room to swing a laptop?

New York's mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced plans to address the city's growing housing shortage by building “micro-units” measuring around 275 sq ft – that’s a 125 sq ft smaller than the current minimum required by law.

In a nation renowned for wide open spaces, pokey-yet-pricey NYC real estate is often the butt of jokes, but 275 sq ft – about half the size of a London Underground carriage - is small even by Big Apple standards.

The average UK new build, according to a 2011 report is 807 sq ft with an average area of 175 sq ft per room. Standards laid down by the Greater London Authority in 2010, require a 1 bedroom flat to have a minimum living space of 538 sq ft, nearly twice the size of the proposed “micro-units”.

The plan, unveiled yesterday, is for an apartment building in the Kips Bay neighbourhood of Manhattan, made up of about 80 units each retailing for under $2,000 (£1,287) per month.

The city is accepting proposals until mid-September and hopes to begin construction by 2013. If the first apartment building is successful, the scheme will be rolled out across the city.

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