Affordable Housing or Lack Thereof
“We must develop a new, scalable housing model that is safe, affordable and innovative to meet their needs,” Michael Bloomberg said back in 2012 when he announced a pilot plan to build smaller-than-currently-legal apartments on a city-owned site in Kips Bay. Monadnock Development, Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation and nARCHITECTS eventually won the “adAPT NYC” competition, and are putting up a 55-unit building on East 27th Street between First and Second Avenues.
Safe and innovative, sure, but are they really affordable?
It has long been a cliche that New York City apartments were no bigger than shoeboxes, even as sprawling units and reconstituted townhouses quietly replace them in this booming, bourgeoisie town. Still, every so often a YouTube video goes viral showing someone making due in 150 square feet or less. As the city continues to grapple with a shortage of apartments, the Bloomberg administration has embraced the less-is-more approach. They’re trading Gracie Mansion for Malibu Stacy’s Dream House.
The mayor wants to adAPT the city’s housing stock to the 21st Century, as a new pilot program announced today is known, by allowing developers to create smaller apartments than regulations currently allow.
For much of New York’s history, landlords and developers were building small, often substandard apartments to serve the city’s soaring population—a fact anyone who has ever lived in a Lower East Side tenement can attest to. Zoning and building regulations rose up to combat these unfit dwellings, but now there is a demand for more apartments than the city, either through publicly financed housing projects or privately built developments, can afford to build.
The new adAPT program takes a plot of land in Kips Bay and a few zoning modifications to try and solve these problems.