Using New York City as an example, we can examine the typical urban residential block. Part of a long and narrow grid it provides the basics for laying out residential and commercial districts and buildings. The American grid, with its ascending street numbers or letters, is an organizing approach meant to equalize, to account for expansion and to make navigation easy and efficient.
First we’ll look at a very early Sandborn Map surveyed as housing and other structures were filling in the blocks, analysis this in terms of road to lot ratio, housing disposition and it’s inherent pros/cons, and then explore a few property surveys to see some variations to the individual residential type in NYC.
A rather special apartment building design by SimpleTwig Architecture.llc, the concept focuses on making the most of the apartment quality, from the moment one steps off the elevator to the moment one sits down on their sofa, the design seeks to maximize living space while minimizing other spaces without compromising quality living.
This article explores the basic layout of the entire apartment floor plan level, which will be supplemented by images of the actual units tomorrow, since we have so much to share on this project. This article also corresponds to two additional articles, one on the parking facilities, and the other on the retail, garden and street level planning of the project. All together, this is how one should make a fully integrated project that makes the most of tenant spaces, provides the community with a special building and provides the owner with a building that is easy to build, maintain and sustain.
We’re putting the final touches on a 40 unit residential project in Brooklyn. It is pretty special in that the project keeps part of an old theater facade and uses it to announce the retail component of the project, through awnings and little local vendors which can casually set up their wares below the awnings. The extra traffic and attention will be a boost for the anchor tenant who has a commanding view of this important residential corner.
This project is split into 3 articles, released the 8th of September, the 10th and the 12th.
This version is for the smaller walkup building of 25’x60′ in order to fit the programmatic components comfortably. It provides a way for a developer to accommodate more people within a building footprint and thus increase the yearly income.
The concept is simple, take what would normally be a three bedroom apartment and change it to 4 shared living suites where individuals get their own private suite, complete with a private bathroom, bedroom and living space, and then share only the kitchen and other building amenities. For a 5 story walkup, the potential is for 19 ‘bedroom suites’ versus the conventional 5-3 bedroom apartments. It is simple math from this point to understand that the suites are occupied with working adults while 2/3’s of the bedrooms from a standard apartment are occupied by children, or, that home office.
This layout option is for the Homeowner, who may not be willing to invest in our ultimate walkup shared living layout which has initial higher upfront costs with a higher return over a longer period of time making it more appropriate for the developer. This version is more of a straight forward apartment with shared bathroom, kitchen and living rooms with more modest sized suites, the ultimate version to be released soon has individual suites with their own bathrooms and only a shared kitchen, the living areas are within each suite.
With several hundred vacant buildings in Newburgh, NY owned by the city, the city needs to take drastic action to stop the decay and reverse the momentum immediately.
While the excuses of lost jobs, crime and the effects of urban renewal can be reflected upon, the lack of motivated intelligent and experienced direction is at the heart of the city’s failures. I too hear the voices of ‘oh I hope someone renovates this majestic structure one day’ and while everyone can share this sentiment it just isn’t enough to affect actual change, for if the city does not drastically modify its approach and attitude all those structures which hold so much potential will eventually need to be torn down, leaving more ‘urban renewal’ effects dotted throughout the city and thus further contributing to the decline of the city. The dam has broken and the water is all but gone. First step, repair and strengthen the dam in a way that is more self-maintaining, in order to prevent decay or a breach in the future… so the water may once again fill in the cavity.
The following are the five most important things the city can do to begin to stop the negative momentum and change people’s perception of the city as one of opportunity.
A followup on the SimpleTwig article ‘Time, Not Distance, Determines Development of Cities‘ we need to take a moment to review the existing density of New York City, as an example to show that people reside in the area that physically puts them closer to where they work, in this case Manhattan. While this is probably obvious to most, one can not assume everyone understands the organic growth of cities.
While it would be nice for everyone to live and fit in Manhattan, or for that matter in a location that has a view of it’s beautiful skyline, it isn’t always possible given the cost of property, and, the lack of availability of housing stock. This means, with an ever growing population, alternatives must be addressed.
Time, that is the time it takes to travel to a job, determines where people focus on in their search for a place to live. Thus a city like New York City has it’s own CBD (Central Business Districts) of Midtown and Downtown, with extensions on the upper East/West Sides and infill throughout, along with growing CBD developments along the river banks of the Hudson and East Rivers, especially with regards to Newark, NJ and Downtown Brooklyn, NY.
When it comes to choices for a residence, there is a curve of acceptable ‘time to commute’ for a particular job. Those on the outskirts of this curve might travel 2 or 3 hours each way, not because they want to but only as a necessary evil in their life to pursue their own interest and priorities. This is why the current commuter system fails, in that providing express service is just not enough to harness the potential of land just beyond the more acceptable half-hour commute, and why there needs to be ‘super express’ service to new core areas to help increase housing and opportunities while providing the ‘time connection’ people demand for their daily lives.