Affordable Housing

Historically, affordable housing constructed independently of NYCHA has been developed through disposition to developers. However, the City also creates housing through a land-lease development model, maintaining ownership of the land, meaning that these additional developments are subject to Public Design Commission (PDC) review.

In order to streamline City-agency processes, PDC has collaborated with partner agencies to develop a system for coordinated interagency review. The intent is that timely and synchronized joint reviews, along with open channels of communication between the City agencies and design teams, will lead to improved design and ultimately expedite the review process.

In parallel with the coordinated interagency review process, PDC has developed a series of guiding principles organized around eight design categories, ranging from site considerations to material selection, all based on the distinct phases of PDC’s conceptual, preliminary, and final reviews.

Amid New York’s diverse set of neighborhood contexts and development constraints, these points are meant to inspire sensitive and holistic approaches to quality affordable housing design.

A database containing quality affordable housing precedents from across the United States and the globe can be found here.

Designing New York:
Quality Affordable Housing

Designing New York: Quality Affordable Housing is a collaboration of the New York City Public Design Commission, The Fine Arts Federation of New York, and the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter. A larger publication working group includes the Department of City Planning (DCP), Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the Department of Design and Construction (DDC), and the Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

This publication contains additional information on the coordinated review process and guiding principles outlined above, as well as seven case studies representing some of the best recent affordable housing built in New York City. The interactive database linked above contains these case studies and more.

Video coverage of the publication launch at the Center for Architecture on May 8th, 2018, can be found here.


The Public Design Commission would like to thank the Associates of the Art Commission for their generous support of the Quality Affordable Housing publication.


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