On Monday Bloomberg announced a competition for architects to submit designs for apartments measuring just 275 to 300 square feet, Reuters reported. The new smaller dwellings are to help offset the affordable housing shortage.
According to the AFP, there are 1.8 million households in New York City that are composed of one or two people, but there are only one million studios and one-room apartments.
In a statement Bloomberg said, "People from all over the world want to live in New York City, and we must develop a new, scalable housing model that is safe, affordable and innovative to meet their needs."
Another issue facing NYC renters is the price of even the smallest apartments. According to the May 2012 Manhattan Rental Market Report, in Manhattan, a studio costs an average $2,243 per month in a building without a concierge, up 7.9 percent from the previous year. In a building with a concierge a studio averages $2,657, up 4.4 percent.
CBS News reported that while Bloomberg wants the apartments to be small, he doesn't want them to feel like a jail cell. In a statement Bloomberg explained that the design guidelines stipulate that the apartments must have simple access with ample fresh air and sunlight.
The one thing getting in the way of Bloomberg's plans? A 1987 zoning law requiring all new housing to be at least 400 square feet.
Bloomberg said he is ready to wave that zoning law if the right plans come along.