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Neighborhoods Now:
University Neighborhood Housing Program

Reopening the UNHP office includes easily actionable items that modify the space to better facilitate 6' of social distancing. Courtesy: Dattner Architects and MBB
Plexiglass partitions and face masks reduce social-distancing requirements to 3', allowing for more workstations that are arranged to minimize overlapping air spaces. Courtesy: Dattner Architects and MBB
Signage displayed in the office's public space and the COVID-19 check-in station encourage safe behavior. Courtesy: Dattner Architects and MBB
Modular planter system for Rose Hill Community Center. Courtesy: Dattner Architects and MBB
Modular planter system for Rose Hill Community Center. Courtesy: Dattner Architects and MBB
This structure provides shade cover while allowing for social distancing. Courtesy: Dattner Architects and MBB
This structure provides shade cover while allowing for social distancing. Courtesy: Dattner Architects and MBB

In collaboration with the Urban Design Forum, Neighborhoods Now connects neighborhoods hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with leading design firms. In Bed-Stuy, Jackson Heights, Kingsbridge, Washington Heights, and the Lower East Side these working groups are collaborating to develop safe and effective reopening strategies.

The outcomes are a set of design recommendations, prototypes, and installations empowering communities to respond to their immediate needs, while contributing to the city-wide strategy on pandemic response. In some neighborhoods, prototypes have already been implemented, and Van Alen and Urban Design Forum are actively fundraising to support additional implementation.

Learn more about Neighborhoods Now.

Working Group

Serving the Northwest Bronx, University Neighborhood Housing Program identified the following priorities:

  • Safely update and reopen UNHP’s main office for core employees, the community rooms at a senior housing facility for tenants, and a vacant community facility for face-to-face financial counseling
  • Connect Commercial Tenants and Community Facility Tenants to design resources to aid the safe reopening and operations within recommended health guidelines

Dattner Architects and MBB worked closely with the University Neighborhood Housing Program to reconfigure their main office and accommodate a six-foot distance between employees. They plan to reduce the amount of workstations in each room, to implement a COVID-19 check-in station to control the flow of people in the space, and to install plexiglass partitions and air purifiers. For the Rose Hill Community Center, Dattner Architects and MBB are working to build a cost-friendly outdoor module planter system suitable for social distancing that also serves as shaded cover. 

The use of the information contained in this proposal document, “Neighborhoods Now: University Neighborhood Housing Program,” is at the sole risk of the user, and Van Alen Institute shall not be responsible for, or liable in any way for, the accuracy, completeness or any other matter with respect to the contents herein. The user hereby assumes all risks of the use of the information, and irrevocably and unconditionally waives, releases and discharges Van Alen Institute and its direct and indirect members, directors, officers, employees, agents, affiliates, volunteers and representatives, from any and all liability of any kind or nature whatsoever, in connection with the matters contained herein, and the use of the information contained herein.