20-Minute Living isn’t Micro

The Boston multi-family residential market has recently taken a turn from developing macro-units to much smaller (250-350 sq. foot) micro-units. These units are a response to Mayor Menino’s call for more affordable housing in the Seaport district. Developers want to build housing that enables people to live, work, and play. By providing common spaces for residents, developers believe young professionals will be willing to trade personal space for proximity to city life. Mark Elden, developer for the Boston Wharf Tower, terms the concept “20-minute” living. The major stops of daily life: public-transit, shops, restaurants, and other amenities are within a 20-minute walk.


ADD Inc. took this concept and ran with it. After doing extensive research and development, ADD Inc. designed an apartment based on brutal functionality. Their micro-units feature:

  • large windows,
  • eight to ten foot ceilings,
  • a wraparound counter for dinning and working,
  • a kitchenette with stovetop,
  • a micro-bathroom,
  • built in bike storage,
  • built-in seating, and
  • a bed alcove which doubles as the living room.

With over 700 housing units currently under construction in the Seaport these micro units ranging $1,500-$2,000 a month should allow young professionals to also get a piece of the action. A model unit showcasing the concept is on display at BSA Space until March 8th.

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