Boston already has 150 microunit apartments—housing units under 450 square feet– with 200 more on the way, but according to bostonherald, a new 385 sq ft module designed collaboratively by the city’s Housing and Innovation Lab, the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) and developer Livelight could play a huge role in adding 53,000 housing units to the housing stock.
Designed with singles, couples and elderly residents in mind, the Urban Housing Unit, or Uhu—pronounced yoohoo—has a double bed separated by a curtain, a full bath, and a living/dining area that opens into the kitchen.
BSA President Tamara Roy said 66 percent of Boston residents are singles and couples, but only 17 percent of the housing stock is studios and one-bedrooms. Singles often band together, which drives up costs for families. “They get a four-bedroom and they can pay $4,000 a month and a small family can’t,” Roy said. “A part of actually addressing that demand and that shortage in the studio and (one-bedrooms) is to alleviate the pressure on the larger units for families.”
The Uhu costs between $40,000 and $70,000, as MHProNews understands.The prototype, which can be stacked four high, will be on display at different sites around the city in order to stimulate public comment on the homes.
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, while noting the modular unit is not part of any housing plan, said the modulars could facilitate development on some of the city’s non-traditional lots. “It could be big, as long as they can withstand the elements here — today we’re dealing with very hot weather and in three months it will be freezing,” said Walsh. “There’s a lot of potential opportunity.
San Francisco, New York City and Seattle are also addressing their own affordable housing shortages with microunit modular units. ##
Editor’s Note: For a related story with Mass MHA’s Mary McBrady, click here.
(Photo credit: bostonherald/Patrick Whittemore–Addison Godine of Livelight, standing in front of Uhu)
Article submitted by Matthew J Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.