Project 02: The Micro-Apartment: 21st Century Urban Living
A prototype for a 300 sqft (30 sq m) small footprint, sustainable living unit for New York City, San Francisco, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo.
A Global Imperative
With the Earth’s population on track to peak at 9 billion by 2050 with nearly 70% expected to be living in cities by that time (UNFPA 2011), addressing how we design and live in cities is arguably one of the principal challenges and opportunities in addressing the sustainability of our planet.
While long considered dirty, polluting and devastating to the environment, recent studies have shown cities to be highly effective in providing for low-carbon lifestyles. In the US for example, a typical New Yorker’s carbon footprint is 7.1 tons of CO2/year, or less than one third of the 23.92 tons produced by a typical American (Guardian, 2009). This benefit comes from density and as our cities’ populations grow and boundaries expand into sprawl, those benefits are greatly reduced.
New York and San Francisco, with experimental changes in their zoning/codes, are looking forward at how to accommodate for their expected influx of residents in the coming years. Demographic studies indicate that a large majority of residents will be young, single, entrepreneurial and will be more likely to move more than before. Its been suggested that they will not require the amount of space mandated under current laws (min 400 sqft in NY) and would benefit from smaller spaces with lower costs/rents.
Your challenge is to design a prototype for a combined living/working space for the young, mobile, urban dweller of the 21st century in ~300 sq ft.