Bloomberg may be scrambling to get a couple of more signature health measures in under the wire, but if researchers (and just about anyone’s anecdotal evidence) are to be believed, he’s been moving in the wrong direction on one huge, ubiquitous risk to New Yorkers’ well-being: unliveably small apartments.
“Sure, these micro-apartments may be fantastic for young professionals in their 20’s,” said the director of design for human health at Boston Architectural College. “But they definitely can be unhealthy for older people, say in their 30s and 40s, who face different stress factors that can make tight living conditions a problem.”
Small spaces are particularly bad for children, and studies have shown that “crowding-related stress” can even increase the likelihood of domestic violence and substance abuse, the Atlantic Cities reports. One researcher explained, “When we think about micro-living, we have a tendency to focus on functional things, like is there enough room for the fridge. But an apartment has to fill other psychological needs as well, such as self-expression and relaxation, that might not be as easily met in a highly cramped space.”
Another potential downside? Driving up city rents even higher. Even New York’s new “micro-apartments” (a Bloomberg-championed project) aren’t exactly coming at bargain basement prices, and the argument has been made that it’ll lead developers to expect more money for their square footage, leading to an overall rise in the cost of real estate. Just what we were hoping for! Besides a room with space for an actual bed, of course.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.