in Micro Living
Renderings for a new apartment complex in New York, New York, USA would
make most urbanites drool, with their open floor plans, full kitchens and bal-conies with sweeping views. But there is, of course, a catch: The 55 apartments,
called My Micro NY, are as small as their relatively low rents—between 250 and
370 square feet ( 23 to 34 square meters).
The US$15 million housing project is one of a growing number of micro-living developments aimed at creatively solving apartment shortages, overcrowding and sky-high rents in cities such as Vancouver, Canada; Tokyo,
Japan; and San Francisco, California, USA.
According to the New York Department of Housing Preservation and Development, there are 1. 8 million one- or two-person households in the city, but
only 1 million studios and one-bedroom apartments. To encourage innovative
projects to help solve this problem, Mayor Michael Bloomberg sponsored a
design competition. The city received 33 project proposals—the most it has ever
received for this type of request.
Construction on the winning project, which is not city-financed, will begin
later this year; residents are slated to move in by late 2015. Though the city
currently bans apartments smaller than 400 square feet ( 37 square meters), an
exception will be made for this project as Mr. Bloomberg continues to try to
overturn the ordinance.
“We have a shortfall now of 800,000 [apartments], and it’s only going to
get worse,” Mr. Bloomberg said when announcing the competition. “We must
develop a new, scalable housing model that is safe, affordable and innovative.”
Smart at Scale
Intelligent design is key to making small living quarters sustainable and humane,
according to Ammr Vandal, an associate with nArchitects, the New York, New
York firm behind the winning design. She points to the design’s lofty ceilings—
DNA AS DATA
Big data can make a big mess, at least when
it comes to storage.
If all the digital content in existence
were printed, the paper stack would stretch
between Earth and Pluto 10 times. And its
volume is doubling every two years, far
outpacing hard-drive capacity.
Project teams in search of storage solutions are turning to nature for ideas on how
to efficiently preserve digital content for
thousands of years to come.
Researchers at the European Bioinfor-matics Institute in Cambridge, England
announced in January that they’d successfully stored digital information, including
Shakespearean sonnets and a photo file, in
a synthetic DNA molecule.
The process required translating the
files into the dense chemical language that
packs an organism’s genome into DNA’s
tiny double helix. The team believes their
experiment, writ large, would condense the
world’s data into one truckload, according
to The Economist.
Still, DNA storage won’t be for sale at an
office supply store any time soon.
“It’s too far beyond us at the moment
because of the price,” lead researcher Nick
Goldman, PhD, told The Ne w York Times.
But if the team can improve the coding to
squeeze more information into the same
amount of DNA, the process may become
“We have a shortfall now of 800,000 [apartments], and it’s only
going to get worse. We must develop a new, scalable housing
model that is safe, affordable and innovative.”