NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Support implementation of Active Design in New York City affordable housing projects

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) recognized a need to develop affordable housing that was more supportive of resident health. For this reason, DOHMH hired the Center to facilitate implementation of Active Design into the design of upcoming affordable housing projects.

With the agency’s goals in mind, the Center developed a program to recruit developers who were beginning a new affordable housing project within a New York City neighborhood that has high health rates of chronic diseases and asthma. After the recruitment period, the Center created a program to mentor affordable housing developers.

highlights from this work:

  • Facilitated training sessions. The Center trained project design teams and their consultants on the importance of prioritizing health within their designs. Strategies on how to implement Active Design within specific project plans in a cost-effective manner were discussed for each team.
  • Provided research support. The Center provided literature and evidence to development teams, which guided them on how to advocate for their designs. It also helped them to prioritize those design strategies with the greatest amount of evidence, where financial and other site impediments existed.

  • Completed technical assistance. The Center provided technical assistance to the development teams by providing on-call feedback and completing reviews of design plans to better promote health.

  • Provided advocacy support. The Center provided informational brochures and communications materials to the teams, assisting them with advocacy initiatives to garner buy-in from municipal agencies and the community.

The affordable housing technical assistance project was successful in including the use of health-promoting design strategies within a cohort of affordable housing projects. The projects that were a part of this program each included numerous features that promote health, such as gardens for resident use, recreation spaces for both adults and children, and prominently placed stairs for everyday use.

Follow up conversations with the project teams that were a part of this program show that they are now more likely to include design strategies that promote health in other projects within their companies. After going through our program, project staff members are knowledgeable about how to use Active Design and will apply this information to other projects.

For more information on this project and/or our services, please contact us.

Related Pages

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    This project enhanced its stairs by prominently featuring entrances next to stair prompts, and adorning the stairwells with artwork.
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    Projects such as these received research on the benefits of providing indoor and outdoor recreation facilities for wide age groups.