Curbed National

The Micro Housing Development Boom Across the U.S., Mapped

The pronounced swing back towards urban living, and the renewed fervor for downtown development, has only made our cities more dense, making the search for cheap housing that much more challenging. While mayors across the U.S. have called for more affordable housing (in New York, both Bloomberg and De Blasio have said it was imperative the city offer more low-rent options), many developers have decided the solution to density and affordability is downsizing and designing smaller units.

A micro housing and micro dwelling boom has hit big cities over the last few years, and while the number of developments remains relatively small, they’ve seen early success. According to an Urban Land Institute study released this fall, micro units—which they define as a 350 square feet or smaller, fully furnished studio—achieve higher occupancy rates and garner a rental rate premium compared to conventional units. Young professional, attracted to the opportunity to save 20-30 percent on rent while living alone, are snatching up available units, while architects and developers continue to experiment with new floor plans and amenities, since these projects, according to the study, often show a greater rate of return than standard development. Here’s a map of many of the micro dwelling that have opened or are in-progress across the country.
2. 4 + 1 BUILDING Chicago developer FLATS has bet big on the microdwelling trend, opening up a series of small-unit developments as well as a range of short-stay rental options across the city. This building, one of the company’s developments in the Uptown neighborhood, features studios that measure in just shy of 500 square feet with furnishings from CB2. The company has a queue of future small space projects in the works, including the conversion of the Bush Temple of Music, a stylish turn-of-the-century building in River North.