By any definition, sustainability should be about more than just a carbon footprint. Strong communities that not only respect the natural environment but first offer residents affordable basic services are an indispensable foundation of the green movement and cannot be excluded from a consideration of what exactly is, or is not, sustainable.
That being said, last week, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (“HPD”), in cooperation with Common Ground (a non-profit organization that develops supportive housing in order to combat homelessness), began construction on a $59 million, 99,000 square foot supportive housing complex at 133 Pitt Street on the Lower East Side that will be Manhattan’s first such LEED Silver development. Designed by Kiss + Cathcart Architects (Brooklyn Health House, Stillwell Avenue Subway Terminal), The Lee, named after one of the project’s major financiers, will offer affordable housing and on-site social services for 263 residents. 104 units will be reserved for the homeless, 105 units for low-income residents, and 54 units for young adults that are at high risk for homelessness. Green design features include an efficient condensing boiler, a green roof, efficient water fixtures, high-performance lighting, and low-irrigation landscaping. HPD and Common Ground expect a minimum of twenty percent savings in utility expenses when the building opens its doors in late 2008.
The project’s fusion of green construction practices with affordable housing recognizes the importance of a multi-faceted definition of sustainability here in New York City. Indeed, as HPD commissioner Shaun Donovan noted, “The Lee demonstrates that sustainability can be successfully integrated with affordability and should no longer be considered a luxury available to only a few New Yorkers.”
- First LEED Certified Supportive Housing Moves Dirt (GlobeSt.com)
- We Break New Ground (Common Ground)
- Brooklyn Health House (gbNYC)
- Stillwell Ave. Subway Terminal (gbNYC)