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August 22, 2007

Break Out of the Box

How community input is driving new affordable housing designs



More serious consultation among developers, architects, and the community is becoming the norm. Affordable housing developers across the country are increasingly following [Seattle Housing Authority's] model of inviting the surrounding communities to get involved in their projects’ designs. They’re finding that such involvement can be a recipe for improving their developments as well as for winning local political support.

They're even doing it in NYC:

In New York, the five teams of architects and developers that competed for a 1.4-acre wedge of abandoned rail yard in the South Bronx got an earful from the community at a public meeting before they submitted even the most basic sketches.

“When we were preparing our design, we really used this [feedback from the neighborhood] as a checklist,” said William Stein, principal for Dattner Architects, an architecture firm in Manhattan that collaborated with Grimshaw Architects to create the winning design.

“Getting community feedback is extraordinarily valuable,” said Adam Weinstein, president of nonprofit Phipps Houses. Phipps is developing that rail yard site in the Bronx, which will be known as Via Verde, in partnership with Jonathan Rose Cos.

And guess the name of the posterproject for lack of community input. [Hint: it's the project that's currently being dragged through the courts while other projects have broken ground]:

Developers that attempt to shorten the lengthy process of building consensus have been punished. Forest City Ratner Cos. reached out to local officials and community groups to win support for its plans to build more than 5,000 mixed-income apartments at Atlantic Yards. But it missed an important set of local stakeholders who have filed several highly publicized lawsuits against the developers. The result: The project is more than a year behind schedule and reportedly tens of millions of dollars over budget.


Posted by lumi at August 22, 2007 8:59 AM