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At least since the demolition of St. Louis' Pruitt-Igoe public housing project, the general narrative about below market rate housing in the United States has been that it is a failure. This understanding has been reified throughout the nation through federally funded programs that have constructed low-rise, mixed-income developments on the site of high-rise developments, as in Chicago.

In contrast, the New York is a special case for affordable housing. Its particular circumstances yielded a broad range of extant below market rate high-rise developments, from New York City Housing Authority properties to private developments like Co-op City — not to mention the varied attempts to deliver quality housing to low income and middle class residents, alike.

This project explores the variety of these developments, not just as manifestations of urban policy, but also as living places defined by domestic environments and the social spaces that help constitute communities.

Nearly 75 photographs from this series are included in Affordable Housing in New York: The People, Places, and Policies That Transformed a City from Princeton University Press. An exhibition of photographs from the book ran from February 10 to May 14, 2016 at Hunter East Harlem.

For more information about the series, visit features in the The New York Times, Slate, and Co. Design.

Selected prints from the series are available directly from David.


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