An Urban Farm on the Rooftop of Affordable-housing Project in Harlem
A Role Model for New York City’s Affordable Housing
By Ronda Kaysen
Feb 14, 2013
An urban farm on the rooftop of a David Adjaye–designed affordable-housing project in Harlem will provide fresh produce and income for the building sometime after construction has been completed in December. An $80 million development in the historic New York City neighborhood, Sugar Hill Housing will offer 124 units of rental housing for low-income adults and families. Adjaye’s stepped-profile design, with a rose-embossed, textured precast-concrete facade, makes it the latest example in a trend to replace bland institutional architecture typical of affordable housing with creative and striking design.
The rooftop farm, along with plans for a farmers’ market in the entrance plaza, provides another example of affordable housing’s potential to improve quality of life for neighborhoods. Students at Columbia University are devising a business plan for the 3,500-square-foot farm. Broadway Housing, the nonprofit developer, hopes to model the farm after others like Brooklyn Grange, which operates 2½ acres of farmland on buildings in Queens and the Brooklyn Navy Yard.