New York City is under the threat of several geographical and social crises, most notably the rising sea levels, floods, storm surges, as well as the need for affordable housing. While previous and current New York mayors have announced several action plans to tackle the housing and climate crisis of the city, none of them were able to tackle these issues on a big scale, particularly after the pandemic worsened the situation as many citizens found themselves without a job and unable to pay rent. As a response, world-renowned architects and academics have proposed new urban developments and master plans that provide long term solutions to these crises.
As a means of tackling New York City's housing crises and combatting climate change, university professor Jason Barr proposed an extension of 1,760-acres of reclaimed land at the tip of Manhattan. Dubbed New Mannahatta, the proposal features an extension of Manhattan Island beyond the Statue of Liberty, providing around 180,000 new homes and a solution to New York's threat of rising sea levels.
Barr's large-scale initiative, although considered drastic, builds on previous attempts done by the city since the 17th century, and the fact that the construction industry and real estate in New York already have a high price tag, which makes the proposal relatively feasible. The proposed neighborhood will cover a plot bigger than the Upper West Side (greater than 1,220 acres), and will feature a neighborhood with several housing typologies, such as traditional brownstones, five-storey apartment buildings, and high-rise towers for almost 250,000 residents.
Several initiatives have already been put into action to solve the housing crisis of New York. Following two years of delays, the New York City Council has finally approved the River Ring master plan of the Williamsburg waterfront project, developed by Two Trees Management with designs by Bjarke Ingels Group and James Corner Field Operations. The master plan includes more than 150 additional units of affordable senior housing and 263 affordable units for low-to-middle income New Yorkers, an environmental benefits fund, and dedicated YMCA community space "to enhance the connectivity of the public waterfront, reinstate natural habitats, elevate the standard for urban waterfront resiliency, and transform the way New Yorkers interact with the East River".
Another proposed initiative to help solve the housing crisis is co-living. New York's Department of Housing Preservation & Development initiated a program called ShareNYC, where the city asked co-living companies and residents to share their experiences of living in such typologies and propose projects that they would help push forward. These proposals come as a response to New York's restrictive land use regulations, making the housing situation in suburbs more expensive, limited, and segregated than almost anywhere else in the country.