UHAB is excited to see a new environmentally friendly affordable housing complex open this month in the Bronx. Via Verde, in the center of “The Hub,” will be equipped with green roofs and build with non-toxic and sustainable materials. The mixed income project will be a combination of rental and co-op owned units.
Senior project manager at Jonathan Rose Companies describes the plans for the building:
“You can literally walk into the courtyard and spiral your way up all of these green roofs, starting with an amphitheater, which will have summertime performances,” says Goldstein. “Evergreen trees on the third floor roof, dwarfed fruit trees, the entire fifth floor roof is all gardening beds for residents to grow their own fruits and vegetables. Then there’s a fitness center on the seventh floor with an extensive green roof outside.”
While we are excited about new affordable housing units and environmentally sustainable architecture, we hope that the hype about being “green” does not get in the way of providing top living conditions and affordable rents for tenants. Some consider the environmentally friendly buildings to be harbingers of gentrification. Housing advocates have come to be skeptical of “mixed income” projects, which often can mean mostly market rate, with few units at regulated rents that are 80% of AMI. In the South Bronx, this is too expensive.
In order for Via Verde to be successful, tenants must be able to work collaborative with building managers to create their own vision of what it means to be living sustainably in the South Bronx. We believe in a broad definition of “sustainable,” which includes provisions for existing communities to live in a way that is affordable and with a high quality of life. We remain hopeful that Via Verde will provide a shining example of environmentally friendly living that the Bronx desperately needs, and will stay tuned to this story as it continues to unfold!
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