You won't find many issues more polarizing around Seattle right now than talk of aPodments, micro-apartments, microhousing or whatever else you want to call teeny-tiny apartments packed into a communal, high-density building. For those who are against them, there's a new 76-page report from NYU's Furman Center that basically wants you to know you're wrong. The giant white paper (PDF warning) studies the demand and feasibility of building small-unit, high-density buildings in six metropolitan areas: New York, Washington D.C., Austin, Denver, and Seattle. The basic argument is based on two statistically undeniable facts: first, rents are super-expensive, and second, more and more city-dwellers are living alone. Knowing those two things, it only makes sense to develop more "micro-units." According that graphic above, there's a good 200K Seattleites who might be willing to trade space for lower cost of living. And clearly, given the never-ending list of new microhousing projects around town, we haven't met demand yet.
For those who don't believe the world is changing, more Americans are living alone now than ever before.
More than a third of all Seattle households are made up of just one person.
Right now, Seattle's single-person households exceeds the number of studio and one-bedroom units, revealing what the report describes as "hidden demand" for smaller and/or economically-efficient living quarters. Think of how many people in Seattle share a residence because they can't afford a market-value 1BR?
Cities that are walkable are prime for micro-apartments since residents have easy access to grocery stores, parks, and other important quality-of-life features outside of their residences. Guess what kind of city Seattle is...
Here's the cost-kicker. According to 2011 figures, almost half of Seattle renters spent more than 30% of their income on rent. If they could reduce that percentage drastically while giving up luxuries they don't really want to begin with, well, why not?
The epic report (PDF!) also dives deep into the research as well as what's stopping these kinds of apartments from being built. Have a look.
· PDF: Responding to Changing Households: Regulatory Challenges for Micro-Units and Accessory Dwelling Units [Furman Center]
· All aPodments coverage [Curbed]