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Sustainable Development Goal: Reduced Inequalities

Inequality has been an ongoing problem around the world, and the issue has only grown stronger since the pandemic. COVID-19 has worsened the imbalance and hit the most vulnerable people the hardest. Income inequality and systemic discrimination threaten the development of the world and only serve to create more poverty, which leads to increased crime, disease, and environmental issues.

New York is the state with the greatest income gap

In New York the top 1% makes $2.2 million a year, while the lower tier makes about $50,000. Manhattan holds most of the responsibility for this gap, with a top 1% that makes 31% of the total state’s income. 

Post-pandemic, people are struggling to collect the rent they need to live amid the rising unemployment and interest rates.

New York City

In New York City, the housing supply doesn’t come close to meeting demand

The vacancy rate for apartments renting between $800 and $1,500 a month is currently at less than 1%.

Since the pandemic, the cost of rent has been on the rise with people moving back into New York again. As of 2022, the average rent in Manhattan was $5,246 a month, up by more than $1,000 a year prior.

With the demand so high, New Yorkers are battling evictions and disgraceful living conditions. According to the Real Estate Board of New York, the number of apartments needed by 2030 to accommodate for population growth is 560,000.

The goal of this thesis project is to design micro apartments that can transform into multiple configurations, with variations to create more affordable housing to accommodate families, couples, and singles living in New York City.

The demand for affordable, yet comfortable living in New York City

This project is meant to help people in the lower income tier in New York City by providing them with comfortable living. There is a huge need for affordable housing right now, “more than 830,000 households in New York State, the majority in New York City, were behind on rent, with a total estimated debt of more than $3.2 billion.”


Almost 50% of those renters were unemployed, and more than 75% were earning less than $50,000 a year. The goal of this residential project is to keep the square footage to a minimum to keep the cost of rent low, and provide more options for lower-income households in New York City.

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