After six long years of careful planning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has finally inaugurated one of the greenest low-income housing blocks in the United States – Via Verde. Comprised of 222 residential units, 71 of which are for sale, the mixed-use complex in the South Bronx boasts lush rooftop terraces, a food co-op at street level, a health clinic and plenty of green spaces for residents to enjoy. Subsidized as part of the New Housing Marketplace Plan that aims to provide 160,000 affordable housing units throughout New York by the end of fiscal year 2014, this groundbreaking project by Grimshaw and Dattner Architects sets the bar for the nation.

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Via Verde, Grimshaw Architects, Dattner Architects, Bronx, low-income housing, food coop, mixed-use development, natural ventilation, daylighting, energy-efficiency, green design, sustainable design, eco-design, urban design, recycled materials, low carbon footprint

The structure’s planted roof terraces extend all the way down to the courtyard, around which the shorter, 3-4 story townhouses are wrapped. Rainwater is collected from all of the roofs and stored on-site for reuse and each apartment is equipped with two facades to ensure maximum daylighting and natural ventilation. Energy and water devices are installed as well, making this one of the highest performing low-income housing complexes in America.

20% of the materials used to construct Via Verde were recycled and an additional 20% were sourced locally, keeping the embedded carbon footprint very low. More than 80% of the debris created during construction has been recycled as well, proving once again that it is possible to create affordable, earth-friendly homes without breaking the bank. The homes are so coveted that 7,000 people sent in applications for the 151 apartment rentals.

“No one would have predicted that there would one day be one of the most innovative, exciting, environmentally sustainable affordable housing developments in the nation – if not the world,” said Mayor Bloomberg at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “The change that has swept through the South Bronx in the last decade challenges the very notions of what is and isn’t possible in urban revival. And investment in high-quality affordable housing – made possible by partnerships like the one behind Via Verde – has been the catalyst,” he continued.

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Via Arch Daily