The problem with Zoning’s FAR

FAR, the floor area ratio, is determined by multiplying the area of a property by a number determined by the property’s zoning district.  For instance a 20’x100′ property in a zoning district of R5 has a factor of 1.25 allowing for 2500 square feet of ‘habitable’ interior space.

The issue is what is considered habitable. FAR accounts for the gross built area including thicknesses of walls, suggesting that the very walls that help define the interior spaces are habitable.  This results in something unfortunate, the attempt to make structural walls thinner resulting in larger interior spaces, which results in buildings that feel less sturdy by the increase in noise infiltration, vibration and other factors.

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Utility Study [part of ‘City for 50 million’ prototype]

This is a rather mundane study to illustrate one point, that by positioning utility lines in the optimum location, there is a significant savings of material, and thus of maintenance, resulting in cities that can better serve their residents needs.  But positioning of utilities, like telephone, cable, water, sewer, gas, steam and electrical is only part of the puzzle in developing a new urban prototype that will not only accommodate more people in better urban environments, but do so with less cost for maintenance into the future.

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Combining Two Properties or Condominiums in NYC

Property owners, builders, developers, architects, and engineers may request permission from both the Department of Finance and the Department of Buildings to divide (apportion) or merge (combine) lots. Approval depends on several factors including tax and zoning rules. The Department of Finance Tax Map Office is responsible for processing these requests.

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Carroll Gardens Brooklyn Garden Transformation

With spring around the corner, lets take a quick look at one of our SimpleTwig garden projects during the renovation of a Carroll Gardens Brooklyn townhouse.

When purchased the garden was overgrown with fallen fencing, and whatever thrown wherever.  Our first steps were basic cleanup.  The ivy was trimmed back and the trash, fencing and anything not savable removed.  We kept the existing gravel cleaning it up so we could use it as a base for a new slab and tile.

This garden is just 30×40 feet square with buildings on 3 sides.  Because of this we decided to make more of the planting area by raising it, and at the same time provide additional seating for informal gatherings.

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Natural Flow Flood Prevention Drain System

We are proud to have developed a simple pipe system that prevents basement and cellar flooding due to a blockage in the house trap.  It’s a rather simple system that for a couple hundred dollars can spare a homeowner from thousands of dollars in damages, including sparing them from the week or so to make their flooded area ‘sewer free’ which is not an easy task and often leaves residue behind despite the best efforts. YUCK!

 

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Efficiency of Home Design, the Laundry Machine

It’s looming, consuming, it’s laundry day.

Homes are functional machines (not if you choose the wrong Architect), although most people don’t consider this factor when designing a new home, or only as a side note.  Yet when choosing an Architect you hope, or assume, they know what they’re doing.  The truth is there might be passing consideration at best, for some of your home’s most important functional aspects, like your closets, laundry and that whole messy process.

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