Parking Reform and Affordable Housing in NYC


Parking Reform and Affordable Housing in NYC

I’ll admit, I’ve never thought about parking reform and affordable housing as a combination, but then, I’m not an industry expert. So, I read this article on and learned some things I really didn’t know.

Contrary to what I saw in New York City last time I visited, there’s a ton of parking. According to

3) On the economy of space, “If you add up all the street-level parking spaces on housing authority lots around town, you get more than 20.3 million square feet, well over half the size of Central Park.” Side note: whoa.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has is deeply concerned about creating affordable housing in Manhattan. A group of architects, Peterson Rich Office and Sagi Golan, have come up with a plan, called 9×18, that, in short, proposes changes to parking regulations to reduce the amount of space dedicated to parking. According to the 9×18 summary at

9×18 is a study of how current parking requirements in the NYC zoning regulations have manifested in underutilized space and problematic urban design, and it asks whether challenges to the code could create new potentials for affordable housing.

I don’t see any way you could implement a plan that replaces underused parking with housing in a city like Los Angeles, but in New York City, it makes good sense. There’s already a fully-formed public transportation system and an attitude that favors public transit and pedestrians.

No one’s saying parking needs to go, but reevaluating regulations established many moons ago, especially in an area as dense as Manhattan, would be really productive. I’m interested to see how this turns out.




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John Van Horn

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