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CHPC New York

Making Room

MAKING ROOM is an initiative that seeks to better match a city’s housing stock with the needs of its households.

MAKING ROOM is a long-term CHPC initiative that seeks to better match a city’s housing stock with the needs of its households. The Making Room approach comprises three key areas of scrutiny:

1)    How the population is really grouping itself into households and what their lifestyles are;

2)    Best Practice regarding options for different housing unit typologies that can support new household arrangements and lifestyles;

3)    The revision of possible zoning, planning, subsidy, and building code controls so that the development of new housing models is allowed and encouraged.

CHPC developed a unique data model and methodology that revealed a substantial mismatch between the types of housing units available in New York City and the shape of our 21st century households. Our diverse households – predominantly single people – are trying to fit themselves into homes and apartments not designed for their needs. And our housing is unable to evolve because the size, shape, and even occupancy requirements of our homes are governed by old-fashioned laws and codes.

Single Male

This analysis, and the application of the Making Room approach, led us to the conclusion that New York City needs to develop three new housing types to accommodate the needs of our real households:

1. Small, efficient studios designed for single person households;

2. Legal shared housing options for unrelated adults;

3. Accessory units to make a single family home more flexible for extended families or additional renters.

In 2009, we hosted an international design symposium to acquaint a New York City audience with housing design innovation occurring all around the world that is responding to the needs of the growing single population, changing demographics, and booming cities.

In 2011, CHPC partnered with the Architectural League of New York to commission five architectural teams to take on a unique challenge: design an array of accommodating, desirable, safe living units for singles, shared households, and extended families, without the current restrictions of certain housing regulations, including minimum unit size, density calculations, and occupancy standards. The designs were presented at a showcase event at the Japan Society of New York which was made into a thirty minute film that was screened at the Center for Architecture.

Last year, Making Room made policy waves when Mayor Bloomberg issuing a Request For Proposals for the adAPT pilot project; to implement and test one of these ideas in the marketplace. Developer/architect teams were asked to design and develop a building of micro-units for single adults and small households and the winning submission is being developed on a site on East 27th Street in Manhattan by Monadnock, designed by nArchitects.

CHPC also partnered with the Museum of the City of New York to showcase all of CHPC’s work on this initiative at the Making Room museum exhibition. The exhibit ran for 9 months, garnered huge international media coverage, and attracted over 150,000 visitors.


We continue to research and analyze the real needs of our households and the lifestyles of all New Yorkers, and to shape new housing and planning policies that truly respond to these demands.