7. CAMBA Gardens, East Flatbush

Before a green affordable housing development can be built in New York, often the greatest challenge is finding available land, particularly property served by existing transit lines and community services.  In the case of CAMBA Gardens, a new development in East Flatbush, publicly-owned land on the Kings County Hospital campus provided space for hundreds of new units of low-income and supportive housing.  A partnership between the City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation and non-profit social services provider CAMBA has resulted in a two-phase project along Albany Avenue and Winthrop Street near the Wintrop Street subway station.

Phase I, consisting of two 6-story buildings with a total of 209 units, was completed in 2014.  Designed by Harden + Van Arnam Architects, the buildings received LEED Platinum certification for meeting a number of green criteria, including the use of solar panels, proximity to transit, bicycle parking, and on-site gardening. Phase II, currently near completion, will add approximately 293 affordable in units in a building designed by Dattner Architects.

CAMBA Gardens received financial support from a variety of government programs, as is typical for affordable housing projects. But, as with most of the projects profiled here, the use of public land was another form of subsidy.  As public parking lots and vacant land become increasingly scarce in New York, projects such as CAMBA Gardens that share space with public institutions are likely to continue as another way of maximizing the output of green affordable housing.