Compelled by housing demand, the city of Boston, Massachusetts—in conjunction with the Mayor’s Housing Innovation Lab, Livelight and BSA Space—has commissioned the design of a modular micro house called the Uhü.
The Uhü (Urban Housing Unit) is a micro house prototype created to alleviate the issue of housing for singles and couples in urban areas. Pronounced ‘yoohoo,’ it’s been designed to tackle Boston’s housing shortage.
The 385 sq. ft. unit offers compact living through a clean, modern approach. Divided into several areas, including a bedroom, hallway with storage, bathroom, living room/dining area, kitchen and balcony, it provides everything needed in a comfortable and inviting space.
Via a modular design, the unit is factory-built and can be shipped to virtually any location. It enables compact living that’s both efficient and cozy, and is even stackable, broadening the options for development.
What’s astounding is the number of households comprised of singles and couples in Boston—almost two-thirds of the city’s population. Coupled with only 17% support of this demographic in the form of studios and 1-bedroom apartments, and you’re looking at a city sorely in need of a housing solution.
YouTube channel Tiny House Listings, showcases the unit in the video, “Uhü Is A Modular, Stackable Micro House.”
Uhü offers several advantages. According to the site—as a prefab, modular alternative—it can be produced for less than a traditional apartment. New housing can be prohibitively expensive in Boston. Uhü is geared to offer a viable option to those in need of a smaller living space compared to standard rentals, yielding efficient and sustainable living.
The unit is designed for various types and ages. Singles, couples, elderly, divorcees, widows/widowers and college grads alike can enjoy the comfort, convenience and cost-effectiveness of the Uhü. The modular concept also leaves room for future modifications, allowing wheelchair access and expansion to accommodate larger families, for example.
Another advantage of this unit is the planned proximity to transit lines, making it easier for residents to travel and forgo the use of automobiles.
The city of Boston has showcased the Uhü in several locations within the city: City Hall, Roslindale, Mattapan, Dorchester, Roxbury, East Boston and BSA Space. Most recently, tours were held at District Hall, “a dedicated gathering space for Boston’s innovation community.”
Information has been gathered from visitors as the Uhü travels around the city. This is a test to see if Boston has found a solution to providing sustainable housing for its middle-income population, also known as the “missing middle.”
“Maintaining a strong middle class is critical to ensuring that Boston continues to be a thriving, diverse city where people want to live and employers want to locate,” said Mayor Walsh in a Boston press release. “No city in the United States has solved the middle income housing challenge yet; I want Boston to be the first.”
The mayor of Boston has called for 53,000 new housing units to meet demand. Uhü may not be a cure-all for its middle-class housing issues, but it definitely serves as an innovative and thoughtful step by Boston in addressing its citizens’ needs.