Learning in New York : New approaches to delivering affordable housing 

PROJECT : The Peninsula,  $300 million mixed-use affordable housing project

We learnt from the Public Design Commission about the transformation of a former Bronx juvenile prison site into a $300 million mixed-use development which will bring 740 affordable housing units.

The proposal by developers Gilbane Development Company, the Hudson Companies, and Mutual Housing Association of New York’s was selected. Under their plan, and with the design services of WXY architecture + urban design and Body Lawson Associates, the five-acre site will give way to 740 units of affordable housing, 52,000 square feet of open and recreational space, 49,000 square feet of light industrial space, 48,000 square for community facilities, and 21,000 square feet of retail space.

POLICIES : Improving the affordable housing application process

We met with the director of the Public Policy Lab who are redesigning services to help New Yorkers better understand how to apply for affordable housing. They found that “more than half the applicants for a particular development to be ineligible for the unit they were applying for” and developed a set of new informational materials about the affordable housing process. Learn more about their work here.

PUBLIC SPACES : A major new waterfront park 

We walked around the Hunter’s Point South Park a major new waterfront park in the city which transformed an abandoned post-industrial area in Long Island City. The new park includes a central green, playgrounds, adult fitness equipment a dog run, a bikeway, a waterside promenade, picnic terraces a basketball court, a 30-foot-tall cantilevered platform for viewing the skyline and waterfront, and a 13,000 square foot pavilion that contains comfort stations, concessions, and an elevated cafe plaza.

Read more here

CONFERENCES : Acts of Design: New Housing Paradigms in North America

The conference assessed the current state of housing in North America through a combination of case-studies. The focus was on designing housing across scales in cities spanning Toronto, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, and New York. Speakers included Jorge Ambrosi and Gabriela Etchegaray, Michael Bell, Tatiana Bilbao, David Brody, Fernanda Canales. Read more here.

We also attend the event Reshaping Streetcapes which explored strategies to promote design excellence for one of “the most unruly areas” of the public realm: sidewalks and streets.


The visit was also an opportunity reconnect with friends and project partners at Project for Public Spaces and Urban-Think Tank

Get in touch to learn more about our research, policy and strategy work in this area.