Living Small In a Big City: Micro Units

by ‐ Tags: green living, alternative energy, affordable housing

As more and more people leave single-family and multi-family suburban homes, they begin to move towards the city. Places like Boston, New York, and Los Angeles are flooded with young professionals who are on the look-out for apartments that will make their wallet feel comfortable while being close to their work place. For these young professionals, moving allows them to develop their career path in a fast-paced , urban environment. A city like Boston, where WegoWise, Inc. is based, can tell you that living in a city where there is growth in demand for downtown living causes limited housing space. Enter micro units, a small sized apartment, perfect for one or two, that just might be a new and innovative way of living in urban downtowns.

What are Micro Units?

Micro units are apartments as small as 295 square-feet and as large as 400 square-feet. The unit is basically a thin, rectangle, just enough space to have fit all the necessities for a modern lifestyle. The need for apartments like micro units is tremendous, allowing a way to develop more residential untis in cities, and more opportunities for young professionals to dive into their career.

More so, it also serves as great convenience for young professionals and their guests; since everything is either in walking distance or within the reach of public transportation; restaurants, museums, and other activities are easily accessible. This decreases the use for the stuff that once mattered, like a car and paying for gasoline.

Smart-Spaced Designs and ADD, Inc., both dominant companies in the field of micro units, helped come up with the idea for these units. Smart-Spaced Designs plans out how to use space efficiently, creating customized interiors for each building that they work with.

ADD, Inc. does some interior design, as well as providing architectural designs to the exterior, such as the look of the building structure. With both companies working to create modern and efficient spaces; the units are expected to display beautiful finishes and high design without losing any of the basic needs in an apartment. This is perfect for young professionals, maybe for some it’s the first time they are living on their own. For these renters, having a small, tidy place is easier to manage, after a long day of work, a small and cozy place like the micro units to go home to would be welcoming.

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Small Apartment, Small Footprint

What makes this way of living so much more efficient is that it conserves energy. The units allows consumers to become aware of energy efficiency; since the unit is so condensed it carries various features that create more of a “green” way of living but not realizing that you are doing so. With very limited space, Micro unit living requires much lower use of heating and cooling systems. For example if you heat your living, your kitchen, bedroom, and entryway are heated at the same time!

For a closer look, here are some of the features packed into 300sf:

Living Small in Boston

It seems everyone has some input as to whether or not compact, micro-unit living is a thumbs up or down. We have Tamara Roy, an architect at ADD, Inc. who mentions, “they are not cheap, but they are the cheapest units in the district.” Which is true, especially in Boston’s Innovation District, where ADD is planning a new development t of these units.  ADD hopes that tenants will see paying anywhere from $1,200-$1,600 per unit as a great value.    

On the other side, Mayor Menino has a different perspective on these micro units, he said, “Boston is unlikely to allow large numbers of micro-apartments in the next few years, it is to protect living standards and ensure the units are reasonably priced”. According to Menino, micro units are much lower in price than the average priced apartments in the downtown area, so if people continue to move into these affordable units, it is leaving empty spaces in the higher priced apartments. Also, he wants to assure that these very small units can still provide a normal standard of living, in terms of good living space.  

Both sides make a good case, but for a city like Boston, the housing cost is rising, so putting in micro unit apartments that is are a bit more affordable will make a huge impact.  

 If multiple of these micro center buildings are to be constructed, it will still allow the city of Boston to maintain a high living standard. This is because people who will potentially be living in these units’ income are “too high to qualify for affordable housing”.  

                   

It is obvious that the micro units apartments may not be ideal for everyone, but it’s certainly something to consider. This modern and innovative designed living space will definitely be an eye catcher and a good conversation starter!