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Sustainability Takes Center Stage In City's New Affordable Housing Guidelines

New guidelines focus on flood resistance and environmentally-friendly designs

The city's new affordable housing units and senior housing will be created with a greater focus on energy efficiency and flood resistance, new guidelines released by the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) have revealed.

The measures are part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's dual initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and to preserve and create 200,000 units of affordable housing in the next 10 years.

"Quality design is critical to the long-time sustainability and success of affordable housing developments," HPD commissioner Vicki Been said in a press release. "The revisions also provide much-needed flexibility to help control the cost, maintain the quality, and increase the production of affordable and senior housing."

Some of the changes the agency is introducing are as follows:

  • A clear description of all the minimum requirements for the building like a lobby, common spaces, and how the apartments will be planned.
  • Sample sketches for each type of apartment — studios, one-bedrooms, two-bedrooms three-bedrooms, and the recently added (for affordable units) four-bedroom units.
  • Highlighting best practices for flood-resistant construction, energy-efficiency and resource conservation, and commercial/retail space options.

The main focus, according to HPD, is to allow for more flexibility in the design of affordable units, that in turn will allow for more apartments to be created.