New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has received a lot of negative press coverage recently for his proposed ban on large sodas, but he is now embarking on another crusade, which deserves our praise. He has waived zoning requirements on a Manhattan lot and has called for architects to compete to design liveable apartments sized under 300 square feet. If this project is successful, perhaps it would pave the way for the city to lower (or even drop) its current requirement of a 400-square-foot average for apartment buildings.
This sort of experimentation is something that should be happening much more often in our cities, and people should be paying much more attention to it. Why should there be an uproar when your city limits the size of your soda, but silence when your city limits the size of your home? Our cities suffer from a lack of innovation and a uniformity of poorly thought out regulations. The only way for this to change is for our city leaders to permit, and even encourage, us to try to do things differently. Let’s trumpet Bloomberg’s project and demand that our city leaders treat the city as a laboratory, lest it become a museum.