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  • Felice Cohen

About Time

Immediately after the video of my small apartment spread around the world last year, I received hundreds of emails from folks, several wanting to know, “Where can I find a small affordable place like yours?” Unfortunately I didn’t have an answer.

Now I do.

Having banned humungous-sized cups of soda in the hopes of decreasing New Yorkers waistlines, it turns out New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s real goal is to get them to fit into smaller apartments.

Yesterday he launched a pilot program to offer “micro-units,” studios that are no larger than 300 square feet, in Manhattan. Some are balking at the size as uninhabitable. Uninhabitable? Are you kidding? That’s more than three times the size of what I lived in for almost five years. That’s not uninhabitable, that’s luxury.

Many news outlets, including NBC news (which included a clip from my video), covered the mayor seeking proposals from architects to come up with a design for these tiny dwellings for a building on East 27th Street. (My dad had this idea last year.) The mayor hopes for 165,000 units by 2014. It’s a wonderful idea. And the timing couldn’t be better.

According to the 2010 census, 46.3 percent of households in Manhattan – the U.S. capital of single living – is made up of only one person. And with rents for studios in Manhattan upwards of $2,700, these smaller and more affordable studios would be great for college graduates, artists and many others.

When your life is about gaining experiences, do you really need a ton of space? Living in those 90 square feet afforded me a great opportunity to explore so much, without having to worry about rent. Life was happening right outside my door and I took full advantage. Sure it’s not for everyone, but most New Yorkers don’t spend a lot of time at home, that’s why they live there.

As people grow tired of their mounting debt and their mounting piles of stuff inside their oversized homes, they’re starting to realize it’s not worth it. Living within your means – living with less – actually gives you more.

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