Experts Convene to Develop Retrofit Solutions, Build Resilience for NYC’s Multifamily Housing

News & Events | January 16th 2014

It has been over a year since Superstorm Sandy hit New York City and brought to light a number of vulnerabilities in the city’s housing stock. A report published by the NYU Furman Center after the storm, Sandy’s Effects on Housing in New York City, found that 70% of the housing units in Sandy’s surge area in NYC were in multifamily buildings. Yet, there exists little guidance, precedent, or assistance for the unique needs of dense, multifamily dwellings that comprise NYC’s housing stock.

To address the resilience challenges faced by the city’s multi-family housing stock and develop strategies to facilitate their implementation, the NYU Furman Center has embarked on a project to identify cost-effective retrofit solutions for long-term resiliency.

To launch the effort, the Furman Center hosted the Retrofit Solutions Workshop on Saturday, January 11th. The workshop brought together over 60 experts from a variety of disciplines, including architects, engineers, building operators, code experts, cos­­t estimators, city officials, representatives from FEMA, and other experts. Workshop participants focused on three specific buildings in Superstorm Sandy’s surge area, including a five-unit building, 20-unit building, and 100+ unit building. These buildings were selcted to be broadly representative of the city's building stock, and will allow the retrofit solutions to be applied to similar buildings across the city.

In addition to developing retrofit recommendations, participants also considered the regulatory, cost, and design barriers that could prevent the implementation of the building retrofits. In the coming months, the Furman Center will further examine these barriers and propose policy solutions to reduce the cost and other impediments to the implementation of these resiliency measures.

The recommendations from the Retrofit Solutions Workshop will be available later this year in a report by the NYU Furman Center, which will include proposals for the regulatory changes and financing models to help building owners implement the retrofits. The design solutions will also be on display at an exhibit at the AIANY in June 2014.

The project is being conducted in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners and the American Institute of Architects NY Chapter (AIANY) and is funded by the NYC Housing and Neighborhood Recovery Donor’s Collaborative.


Photo credit: ©NYU Photo Bureau: Hollenshead

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