Laying the Groundwork

    Vibrant street life and quality 
    ground-floor uses for affordable housing
    Affordable housing is at the top of New Yorkers’ minds more than ever with Mayor de Blasio’s new ten-year plan to create or preserve 200,000 affordable units across the five boroughs. We produced a comprehensive set of design guidelines, Laying the Groundwork specifically targeting the ground-floor retail units in the new affordable housing developments, which often times remain vacant as a direct result of poor design decisions. 

    The Guide invites developers and architects to think creatively about the ways buildings contribute to the life and health of neighborhoods encouraging attractive, active and resilient streetscapes. The recommendations are applicable to a wide range of retail models—such as grocers, pharmacies, and banks; community services such as health clinics, senior centers, and childcare; and cultural and recreational centers—that can meet and evolve with community needs. The Guidelines are already being incorporated into the City’s Requests for Proposals and into NYC Department of Housing, Preservation and Development design requirements for affordable housing developments throughout New York City. There is also strong interest in applying these guidelines to changes in ground floor spaces at many of the 328 NYC Housing Authority developments across the five boroughs.
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