More American cities are following New York City’s lead in developing “micro apartments” as small as 220 square feet, allowing city officials to gain more tax revenue and control at the expense of their residents’ mental health.
In Austin, Texas, real estate developers are currently working with the city council to amend zoning regulations to allow developers to build more coffin apartments, which would allow the city to expand the tax base and promote dependence on public transportation heavily subsidized by taxpayers.
“Are Austinites ready to start living in 21st century boarding houses?” Joe Lanane asks in the most recent Community Impact Newspaper. “That is how at least one Austin developer describes micro units, small residential spaces that are less than 400 square feet.”
And in Providence, R.I., a developer recently converted Arcade Providence, the oldest indoor shopping center, into a 38-unit micro apartment complex.
These units range in size from 225 to 300 square feet and include a living room, bedroom, bathroom, built-in storage and an ovenless kitchen.
But what’s the typical rent for coffin apartments? Existing micro units in New York and Austin start out at nearly $1,000 a month and skyrocket from there.
“The 55 units being built in Brooklyn will include 22 rent-restricted units, which will run from $939 to $1,873 a month depending on the income of the renter,” reported Sabri Ben-Achour with Marketplace. “The remaining 33 will be market rate, which means they could go for higher.”
And the Cresent at Austin, an apartment complex south of downtown, is renting out 392 square foot apartments for an average of $1,272 a month.
Micro apartments in San Francisco are even smaller, with the city having approved 220 square foot apartments back in 2012, and to put that size into perspective, the interior of an average school bus is larger at nearly 250 square feet.
Psychiatrists warn that these micro-sized units can lead to claustrophobia, domestic abuse and even alcoholism.
“Sure, these micro-apartments may be fantastic for young professionals in their 20s, 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,” Dak Kopec, director of design for human health at Boston Architectural College, told The Atlantic.
The cities green-lighting the development of coffin apartments are motivated in part by the expanded tax base resulting from packing as many people as possible within city limits.
And because parking is already at a premium in urban areas, city officials attempting to implement the United Nations Agenda 21 Sustainable Development program will exploit the increased population density to demand the development of expensive and inefficient public rail systems which increase centralized government control while also reducing the use of private transportation.
Signed in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush and later phased in by President Bill Clinton, the Agenda 21 program is based on communitarianism, which calls for government to eventually take control of all land use without leaving any decision making in the hands of private property owners.
“It is assumed that people are not good stewards of their land and the government will do a better job if they are in control,” Agenda 21 expert Rosa Koire wrote, who is a Californian Democrat and the author of Behind The Green Mask: U.N. Agenda 21. “Individual rights in general are to give way to the needs of communities as determined by the governing body.”