Making Room

New York City has a remarkably diverse, and growing, population. Yet the diversity of its populace—in economic status, cultural background, age, family structure, and livelihood—is not matched by a similar diversity in housing options.

Over the last several years, the Citizens Housing & Planning Council (CHPC) has been researching and analyzing how and where New York City’s residents live, and what housing is available to them. Their findings have revealed the many ways in which current housing regulations and standards constrain the range of choices the market can offer, particularly for single-person households, shared dwellings, and multi-generational households, through restrictions on unit size, subdivisions of existing units, and definitions of who may jointly occupy units. Simply put, New York City is not producing enough of the kind of housing stock its residents want and need.

To help address this critical problem, the League partnered with CHPC on Making Room, a design study to propose new types of housing that might better match the contemporary demographic make-up of New York and how New Yorkers choose to live now. This feature presents the material that led up to and came out of the Making Room project, and further explores the challenges we face, and the possible solutions we can strive for, in creating more affordable, legal, safe, comfortable, and desirable options in New York City’s housing market.

Many of the ideas generated by the Making Room project are on view through September 15, 2013 at the Museum of the City of New York in the exhibition, Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers.

Published: March 11, 2013