The Urban Affairs program is focused on projects that enhance New York City’s vitality as a leading and livable urban capital.
We partner with civic and cultural institutions, local government, and independent nonprofits that design innovative, feasible initiatives to address the common needs of diverse New Yorkers.
The Foundation continually seeks opportunities to strengthen the city’s pluralistic communities and civic spaces, re-envisioning public libraries, affordable housing, and local public affairs journalism to cultivate engaged, creative urban citizens.
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Featured Project: CHPC's "Making Room"
The "Making Room" exhibit is on view at the Museum of the City of New York until September 2013.
Making Room is an initiative led by Citizens Housing and Planning Council to expand housing options in New York City. Through research, advocacy, and policy recommendations, CHPC is developing solutions to address the mismatch between the types of housing currently available in New York City and the needs of its diverse and growing population.
New York City housing laws are decades-old and designed with the traditional nuclear family in mind. Outdated restrictions on size, shape, and occupancy prevent much of today’s housing demand from being met. One third of the city's housing units (including half of those in Manhattan) are occupied by singles living alone, and one quarter of all households consist of at least two unrelated adults living together. These numbers are certain to increase as the city's population grows by an estimated one million new residents over the next 20 years. Immigrants and young professionals, two groups that are vital to the city's economy, are the main drivers of the increase in total population and in singles living without a spouse or partner—a demographic that currently includes 47% of all New Yorkers.
“Making Room” has identified three types of new housing that, if permitted, would produce vibrant markets: small, efficient studios for singles; legal shared housing for unrelated adults; and accessory units to make single-family homes more accommodating of extended families or additional renters. Currently, the growing number of residents who are seeking these kinds of arrangements can find them only in legally gray areas, while developers can’t build the type of housing that many New Yorkers are eager to inhabit.
Over the last five years, CHPC has engaged architects, developers, housing advocates, and city government in the search for a solution. CHPC’s 2009 international design symposium, “One Size Fits Some,” and its 2011 design showcase and symposium paved the way for Mayor Bloomberg’s 2012 request for proposals for a pilot project of micro-unit apartments to be developed on East 27th Street in Manhattan (check out the winner here). The Museum of the City of New York is showcasing a “Making Room” exhibition through September 2013.