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Tiny Apartments Leading the Sustainability Challenge

The earth has a vast amount of land; a human being can’t even begin to visualize the 57,308,738 square miles of land that are present on the earth. Yet, we have covered so much of the earth with our dwellings, businesses, and other buildings today that there doesn’t seem to be much good land left to build on.

Seeing an immense increase in the world’s population on the horizon, and subsequently the need for more housing, countries like Japan have been working on maximizing building spaces for years. They've come up with some of the most radical ideas, like tiny apartments and hotel rooms with beds that can be pulled out like shelves, in order to lead the way in the sustainability challenge that the human race is facing.

Modular Fabrication in New York

New York, the city known for its skyscrapers and cramped streets, is finally taking its first steps into the world of modular fabrication of tiny apartments. While there have been many examples of prefabricated houses around the world, New York is taking a different approach by designing a high-rise tower that will be composed of modular structures.

The project, named My Micro NY, is set to be one of the first modular communities that will be made completely from prefabricated dwelling modules stacked on top of one another at the building site.

The Pros and Cons of Modular Fabrication

The reason that the city has opted to go for these tiny prefabricated apartments in leading the sustainability challenge is because prefabricated structures have various advantages over conventional forms of construction.

  • Building houses in a factory rather than onsite has the advantage of standardization that all the units will benefit from. The sizes, materials, and the quality will all be up to a standard which can be achieved easily in a factory more so than onsite with variable conditions.
  • The actual construction of the modules is safer and more energy-efficient.
  • It is a faster process.
  • It is less expensive.
  • It benefits from higher quality control procedures and also reduces waste materials and pollution from the vehicles that would otherwise be used all day to transport materials to the site.

That said, this kind of construction has some disadvantages as well, especially when it comes to designing houses.

  • The modules are not easy to outfit individually once they are meant to be part of a larger structure.
  • They are not adaptable for every type of resident.
  • They are not flexible enough to allow for future changes in use.

The Promising Factors of Modular Construction

According to the Modular Building Institute, a 31% increase in the number of modular lodgings has been seen in the years 2012 and 2013. This shows a greater interest among people to adopt this building technique. Also, researchers say that the people living in large urban centers like London or Tokyo are willing to stay in smaller apartments as long as they have a space with maximum efficiency and all the basic amenities.

The My Micro NY project, with houses ranging from 270 to 350 square feet, is going to be the city’s first project of its kind. It will have 55 units, which are estimated to be completed in 15-18 months as opposed to the 24 months it would have taken to build them onsite in the conventional way. These tiny apartments stacked on top of each other are geared to start a new trend in the city and to lead the way in new solutions to the general sustainability challenge that the world is facing.

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