Oculus - Fall 2015 - (Page 15)

first words LETTER FROM THE EDITOR ©Elaine Gallagher Adams, AIA, LEED AP No Cabins in the Sky T Editor settling into her favorite parking space-sized SCADpad on the top floor of the Savannah College of Art and Design's Atlanta campus parking garage. Winter 2014 © Wade Zimmerman A Publication of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter Volume 76, Issue 4 | $10 Changing Skyline/ Evolving Streets Hello, We're at a Place Called Vertigo Tower at the Crossroads The Mid-block Move In Step with the Neighborhood LULU Hits the Streets Just Another Messy Urban Neighborhood New Practices New York 2014 Winter 2014 Cover. he cover photo for the Winter 2014 issue of Oculus ("Changing Skyline/Evolving Streets") by Wade Zimmerman is exquisite and, forgive the overused word, iconic. It portrays the skyline of a city with soaring aspirations of historic proportions. But the content of the issue focused on the human-scale aspirations, expectations, and realities at street level. The subject of the issue you hold in your hands also takes on a concern of historic proportions: housing that supports a population needed for the city to grow economically, culturally, sustainably - and equitably. New York City's affordable housing conundrum is nothing new. It has put decades - if not centuries - of mayoral administrations between many a rock and a hard place: between affordable housing nonprofits and implacable demand, between housing advocates and NIMBYs, and between or amongst borough politicians, the Real Estate Board of New York, building trade unions, and the mayor's office and city agencies. In "Everything Housing," the Winter 2003 issue of Oculus, I crunched the numbers in the Department of Housing Preservation and Development's (HPD) 2003 New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey. In this issue, Bill Millard's lead feature crunches the numbers in the HPD's 2014 report. What I find most striking is how little has changed, such as the high percentage of people paying more than 50% of their income for rent. There is some good news coming out of Mayor Bill de Blasio's 10-year "Housing New York" plan announced in July, such as boosting HPD's capital budget to $6.8 billion (a 165% hike, as reported by Crain's New York), streamlining some of HPD's Inclusionary Housing programs, and financing "the creation and preservation of 20,325 affordable apartments and homes during fiscal year 2015, enough housing for more than 50,000 New Yorkers." Unfortunately, when political and financial realities set in, promises sometimes become casualties. As reported in Crain's in early August, the de Blasio Administration "will let some residential developers double or even triple-dip into subsidy pools by using the same group of affordable apartments to qualify for a variety of programs - a practice it initially pledged to eliminate." This doesn't bode well in light of an Independent Budget Office analysis and a DNAinfo investigation that found that three Billionaires' Row towers were granted thousands of extra square feet for a nominal amount of money, or a huge 421-a tax break to help subsidize the building of only 89 affordable units in Chelsea and the Bronx. (Taxpayers will foot the rest of the bill.) Of course, much may have changed by press time - politics and housing policies can move rather quickly. Some aspects of housing are looking up, however, as highlighted in this issue. A towering project in Downtown Brooklyn combines market-rate and affordable housing with an abundance of retail that will add vibrancy to its once-gritty, now booming neighborhood. Once considered too stringent and expensive for multifamily housing, Passive House standards are going mainstream with multi-unit condos, affordable- and senior-housing projects, and the world's first high-rise Passive House residential tower. In Newark, Teachers Village is reinventing the city's beleaguered downtown. A prefab modular supportive housing project brightens a South Bronx neighborhood. A 1903 former elementary school in Harlem, once thought doomed, is reborn as affordable housing and a community center. And architects are finding the rewards far outweigh the risks of developing their own projects on a number of scales. In our regular departments, "One Block Over" takes a look at the business and building boom in Downtown Brooklyn, while "118-Year Watch" revisits a palatial and affordable alternative to a late 19th-century SRO that's still standing on Bleecker Street. And "In Print" suggests intriguing titles to add to your fall must-read list. In the foreseeable future, housing affordability is going to remain a sticky wicket for every major urban center. But with every passing year, government agencies, planners, architects, and advocates are making inroads in finding solutions to unstick those wickets. Let's hope the momentum keeps building, figuratively and literally. Kristen Richards, Hon. AIA, Hon. ASLA kristen@ArchNewsNow.com Home Game: Winning with Housing Fall 2015 Oculus 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Fall 2015

First Words Letter From the President
Letter From the Editor
Center for Architecture
One Block Over
Opener: Affordability: Many Paths to a Solution
Housing for the 99%
Tower Power
An Active Market for Passive
Ahead of the Class
It Takes a Village
Support System, Modular Style
From Learning to Living
The DIY Approach to Housing
In Print
118-Year Watch
Last Words
Index to Advertisers

Oculus - Fall 2015