Housing Designs for New York Small Lots

A design competition focuses on the many tiny and often irregularly shaped vacant lots of New York City.

1 minute read

August 22, 2019, 6:00 AM PDT

By Camille Fink

Vacant Lot

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Earlier this year, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects teamed up to sponsor the Big Ideas for Small Lots NYC housing design competition. The goal was to design buildings that could take advantage of the city’s more than 10,000 small lots, where lot size and requirements for air, natural light, stairs, and elevators are major challenges.

The competition site was a lot in Harlem that is 17 feet wide and 100 feet deep, reports Diana Budds. "The entries explore experimental building techniques, like mass timber; unconventional layouts, like micro units and split-level studios; and innovative details, like movable walls and communal gardens, that push the boundaries of what HPD typically develops."

The designs provide insight into the possibilities for new and creative ways to build affordable housing, says Budds. "The next challenge—and it’s a big one—is moving these ideas from paper into the real world. Let’s hope the the city’s will to build is as strong as the ideas presented."

Tuesday, August 13, 2019 in Curbed New York

Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25, 2024 - Fox 59

Aerial view of New York City architecture with augmented reality visualization, blue digital holograms over buildings and skyscrapers

4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design

With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.

February 20, 2024 - ArchDaily

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25, 2024 - Wired

Ice fishing tents surrounded by fence in Safe Outdoor Space for unhoused people in parking lot in Denver, Colorado.

An Affordable Housing Model for Indigenous Americans

Indigenous people make up a disproportionately high percentage of the unhoused population, but many programs designed to assist them don’t reach those most in need.

March 1 - High Country News

An electric bicycle is shown with the legs of a human who is riding the e-bike.

Oregon Bill Would Ban E-Bikes for Riders Under 16

State lawmakers seek to change Oregon e-bike laws following the death of a 15-year old last summer.

March 1 - Oregon Capital Chronical

Aerial view of canal cut into beach in Charlestow, Rhode Island with boats parked in sand.

Northeastern Waterways More Polluted After Wet Year

Intense rains washed more runoff into local bodies of water, while warmer temperatures contributed to the growth of an invasive bloom.

March 1 - University of Rhode Island

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.