Are Small Apartments Hazardous to Your Health?

The growing trend in "micro" living seeks to fill a need for affordable housing in dense and desirable urban environments. But what are the downsides to living in such small spaces? Health experts are raising red flags.
December 21, 2013, 7am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"[A]s New York City’s 'micro-apartment' project inches closer to reality, experts warn that micro-living may not be the urban panacea we’ve been waiting for," writes Jacoba Urist. "For some residents, the potential health risks and crowding challenges might outweigh the benefits of affordable housing. And while the Bloomberg administration hails the tiny spaces as a “milestone for new housing models,” critics question whether relaxing zoning rules and experimenting with micro-design on public land will effectively address New York’s apartment supply problem in the long run."

“Sure, these micro-apartments may be fantastic for young professionals in their 20's,” says Dak Kopec, director of design for human health at Boston Architectural College and author of Environmental Psychology for Design. “But they definitely can be unhealthy for older people , say in their 30’s and 40’s, who face different stress factors that can make tight living conditions a problem.”

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Published on Friday, December 20, 2013 in The Atlantic Cities
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