The Melody

Project: The Melody
Bronx, New York City
Affordable Housing, Residential Building
63 units

Year Completed: 2011

Building Certifications: LEED for Homes; Platinum

Project Partners: NYC Housing Preservation & Development; NYC Housing Development Corporation; Blue Sea Development Company; NYC Habitat for Humanity

Architect: Aufgang + Subotovsky Architecture and Planning

Project Summary: The Melody is a new co-op, residential building that houses low- and moderate-income families in the South Bronx. The Melody aims to provide opportunities for people to become homeowners in a building that is both green and that promotes an active lifestyle. It is the first residential building in New York City to open that was awarded the LEED Innovation Credit for Health through Physical Activity for its inclusion of health and wellness promoting strategies in its design. Also built to LEED Platinum, ENERGY STAR® green standards, and on a former brownfield site, this building promotes unique sustainable design measures. The building is well-connected to public transit and is within walking distance to nearby public schools.

The land and funding for the construction of the Melody was contributed by the NYC Department of Housing and Preservation. Further funding was also issued by the New York City and State Housing Development Corporations, the Bronx Borough President’s Office and by NYSERDA. Blue Sea Development collaborated with the NYC Health Department on acheiving the LEED Innovation Credit for Health through Increased Physical Activity.

Unique Neighborhood Demographics: Obesity and the Type 2 Diabetes are two health problems that are on the rise in New York City and the South Bronx has particularly high rates of both conditions. With a disproportionate number of low-income New Yorkers fighting obesity and weight-related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, health promoting buildings are especially important for residents of the South Bronx, one of the poorest neighborhoods in New York City.

Active Design Highlights:

  1. Indoor and outdoor fitness/recreational spaces with active play areas and exercise stations for both children and adults.
  2. Promotion of stair use by locating the main stair in a prominent location and by including signage, artwork and music within and nearby the stairwell.
  3. Secure bicycle storage facilities provided on-site.
  • User Side Images Image 89
    Stair use promoting glass doors and signs; Photo Credit: Reena Agarwal
  • Minority and lower-income people are more likely to live in neighborhoods with lower-quality sidewalks, fewer parks and recreation resources, and more danger from crime and traffic.

  • Just 2 minutes (about 6 floors) of stair climbing a day burns enough calories to prevent average U.S. adult annual weight gain.