The trend toward living in less square footage isn't just about battling rent hikes: in Orange County, the able-bodied and financially resourceful are choosing to habitate (and sometimes co-habitate) in so-called micro or mini-apartments. Although the definition varies, anything below 500 square feet is generally considered to be on the petite side. The smaller appliances, constricted shelving, and overall compactness of these places requires spatial creativity and a Spartan materialism. According to the Orange County Register, nursing student and 475 square foot apartment dweller Cayla Alexander says of she and her husband, “We have three bowls and five plates. But when you really come down to it, do you need anything else?”
Perhaps the most extreme example of this trend is the My Micro NY, a complex of 55 apartments designed by nARCHITECTS in New York City that range in size from 260 to 370 square feet. According to CapsysCorps, the units make use of tall ceilings, large windows and a loft-like arrangement for sleeping that affords a greater sense of space, as well as the occasional communal kitchen and seating-friendly shared corridors. As of this writing, the project is completing construction and will begin leasing units in the fall. The units were designed to be rented at rates between $914 to $1,873 per month in a city where the median one bedroom apartment rents for $3039. However, if the news of similar trends from Seattle, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. among others is any indication, the reinterpretation of what tenants want in and from a living space may prove to trump the financial incentive.
As Cayla Alexander notes, “It’s a lot more free and liberating to have less stuff.”