Modern micro-apartments such as Carmel Place are not some new invention, but rather a modern take on urban housing for singles.
A recent New Yorker piece entitled “Are Micro-Apartments a Good Solution to the Affordable-Housing Crisis?” by Elizabeth Greenspan reminded me of a quote I once heard: “[The person] Who knows only his own generation remains always a child.” In order to understand the micro-apartment conversation, it’s essential to understand its historical context. Modern micro-apartments such as Carmel Place are not some new invention, but rather a modern take on urban housing for singles. I am certain this type of housing lined the streets of Jericho and Babylon. While Ms Greenspan does an excellent job of weighing the pros and cons of this form of housing, I’d like to address a few points brought up in the article that I think warrant more investigation:
Consider this: even our most basic wall bed adds around 30 square feet of usable floor space when folded away. In a city like NYC where property values start around $1000/square foot, this is a big deal. But more than economics, it’s about using smart design to make every space you rent or own do as much as it can. This matters whether you’re living in a 250 square foot micro apartment or 5000 square foot McMansion.
Listen, apartments like Carmel Place are not for everyone, and Ms. Greenspan does a great job of making that clear. That said, for the 50% of New Yorkers who live alone they make a lot of sense. And we at Resource Furniture truly hope that Carmel Place’s great design trickles down to not so luxurious apartments. I have lived in New York City for nearly 30 years and I have a deep love for the place. I wish that anyone that wants to live here, can live here. This wish is one of the reasons why my company is donating furniture for the 12% of Carmel Place units going to former homeless vets. Giving these folks the opportunity to live in the world’s greatest city is one small step toward rebuilding the diversity that made it that way. The fact is that too many people that want to live here, cannot afford to do so. Yet I believe that by building a greater volume of small spaces in our urban core, ones that meet demographic realities, ones that incorporate smart interior and furniture design, ones like Carmel Place, we can start shrinking the gap between supply and demand. And, despite what Ms Lebowitz believes, we can do so in an elegant, livable manner.
Finding a place to call home can be challenging — and not just in New York.