Making Room

Launched in 2011, this design study considered new types of housing to match New York's contemporary demographics and lifestyles.

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. For example, regulations have tilted what the housing market produces towards larger units, for households assumed to be “families,” even though only 17% of New York’s dwelling units are occupied by traditional nuclear families. As a result, many households improvise their living arrangements in ways that can be illegal or unsafe. 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 to carry out 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.

Project showcase


For the Making Room design study, Stan Allen & Rafi Segal propose transforming commercial office space constructed in the 1960s and '70s into housing.

March 20, 2013


On Urban Omnibus

Introducing Making Room

Introducing Making Room: a research, design and advocacy project to shape New York’s housing stock to address the changing needs of how we live now.

Bringing Basements to Code

Seema Agnani’s work with South Asian immigrants on housing needs charts a course for legalizing basement apartments to create affordable housing.

One Size Fits Some

This symposium is part of the Citizens Housing & Planning Council’s broad-based investigation of housing and space standards in New York City. Read, watch, listen and respond.


Housing Brass Tacks

A 2016-17 discussion series designed as a primer on big ideas and essential mechanics in New York City housing policy and development.

The Vacant Lots study project

Original material from the Vacant Lots design study publication outlines the historical context, organization and goals of the project.