Housing the Homeless: A Framework for Sustainable, Affordable Housing
New York City’s building stock is comprised of nearly one million structures. Buildings are responsible for unconscionable amounts of global energy, water, resources, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Thousands of buildings are annually constructed when the truth is that there is a significant stock of buildings that could stand to be rehabilitated. New green developments present an opportunity to increase efficiency while reducing energy use, resource consumption, and waste. If virgin new green developments provide the aforementioned opportunities, then it logically follows that sustainably retrofitting preexisting buildings represents an even greater opportunity to promote environmental sustainability and reduce inefficiencies. As of July 2017, a little over 60,000 people were living in New York City’s (NYC) homeless shelters (Coalition for the Homeless, 2017). A proven solution that has been proposed for ending homelessness is: actually, housing the homeless. Marrying the issues of sustainable development and homelessness, this thesis argues that sustainable renovation and building reuse are cost-effective ways to tackle homelessness in NYC in a way that is mutually beneficial for the city, the homeless, and the communities that are mostly affected by homelessness and the threat of homelessness. An analysis of Norwood Terrace, and affordable housing development is treated through environmental studies to conceptualize how retrofitting sustainably is the best option for NYC to house the homeless. Property management and development shows how monitoring, collaboration, and innovation can be instrumental in providing housing at a price the city can afford. Lastly, architecture and urban planning illustrates how efficient, sustainable housing can and should be designed.