Brooklyn Boro

These six tiny lots in Brooklyn may soon see innovative affordable housing

February 5, 2019 By Sara Bosworth Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Hoping to solve a peculiar design problem, the city is calling on its architects with a peculiar request: think small.

In this case, the instructions are literal. The Department of Housing and Development announced on Monday the Big Ideas for Small Lots initiative, an architectural competition to fill 23 of New York City’s narrowest vacant lots, many of which have been neglected and trash-strewn for decades. Six are in Brooklyn.

The city, in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects New York, will host a two-stage design challenge that asks architects to create models for affordable housing on a small scale — the lots in Brooklyn range in size from 1,125 square feet to 2,613 square feet.

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Big Ideas for Small Lots hopes to leverage the tiny, vacant spaces to  in HPD’s effort to build and preserve 300,000 affordable homes by 2026.

Submissions for Stage I of the competition are due March 24, at which point HPD will award a $3,000 stipend to five finalists, who will be invited back to present Stage II proposals in September.

Proposals will be given to a panel of nine judges of architects, urban designers, city planners, private developers and designers.

Hayes Slade, president of AIA New York and one of the nine judges, emphasized that the panel will be looking for designs that could be replicated in other locations. “Providing a design for a housing solution that can serve as a prototype for other similar lots is essential, as is providing a model for good quality affordable housing,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle.

But that’s not to say the panel won’t be looking for innovation. Judges will be keeping their eyes out for “exemplary sustainable design approaches, economical construction solutions, or additional creative programmatic benefits,” Slade added. 

The sites are scheduled to be designated in November.  

Of the 23 sites in question, six are in Brooklyn, spread across Bedford-Stuyvesant, Stuyvesant Heights, Brownsville and Flatbush.

Stuyvesant Heights (Median Household Income: $41,269*)

708 Hancock St. and 706A Hancock St.


Bedford-Stuyvesant (Median Household Income: $39,970*)

406 Nostrand Ave.

Putnam Avenue at Bedford Avenue


Brownsville (Median Household Income: $24,504*)

St. Mark’s Avenue and East New York Avenue


Flatbush (Median Household Income: $48,896*)

2334 Tilden Avenue

* Data from the U. S. Census Bureau

Follow reporter Sara Bosworth on Twitter

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