City officials have been pushing for the creation of more microdwellings since the Bloomberg administration, but if zoning changes being pushed by Mayor de Blasio go into effect, more of the tiny spaces may really be coming to New York City. Crain’s reports that a report currently under public review, called Zoning for Quality and Affordability, recommends relaxing density caps and eliminating the 400-square-foot minimum for studio apartments, thereby creating more housing for single people. Almost 50 percent of the city’s population is estimated to be single, but only seven percent of the housing stock is studios.
The proposed changes could lead to an estimated 15 percent increase in the number of apartments in the city, according to the report. Density caps vary by location, but relaxing them could mean a 72,500-square-foot building currently capped at 101 units would be carved up into 106 units. The idea behind relaxing the caps isn’t increasing the number of buildings, but changing how the existing ones can be carved up.
It went on to say that the shortage of housing for singles is a problem for families, too; when single folks can’t find a place to live alone, they get together as roommates and take a unit that could have been taken by a family. “It’s far better to do this in an upfront way and allow denser housing, rather than having hidden density on the inside of these buildings,” Sarah Watson, deputy director of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, which has been advocating for more flexibility in unit sizes for years, told Crain’s.
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