Via Verde: New York University
The vision to create housing that fits the community and urban context, integrates sustainable features in an affordable design, and is replicable in terms of construction and cost is of great importance today in New York City. This growing need for affordable housing in New York City saw little response from local developers and architecture firms, partly due to the challenges of working with the city's convoluted departments and their approval processes. In addition to this, the perceived notion of affordable housing developments having a limited budget and constrained creativity added to the resistance. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ‘New Housing Marketplace Plan’ was a multi billion dollar initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing for half a million New Yorkers by the close of fiscal year 2014.
Under this scheme, Via Verde was developed on one of the last few remaining parcel’s in the South Bronx that were taken through in-rem tax foreclosure when ’The Bronx (was) Burning’ during the 1970-80’s. Via Verde is a symbol of the city’s efforts to revitalize the area. NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) being the lead public agency, was closely involved in rezoning the site from manufacturing to residential. HPD, in partnership with the NYC Chapter of American Institute of Architects (AIA) sponsored the New Housing New York Legacy Competition which the project is born out of. Via Verde offers innovative, high-quality sustainable design and affordable rental and housing ownership to a range of income levels with a special emphasis on community integration and health-focused amenities. It is a LEED 2013 Gold certified project under the New Construction V2 category. The success of the project is attributable to the architectdeveloper vision of addressing urban housing needs. Via Verde serves as an example to demonstrate that affordable housing can be sustainable, cost effective and creative.