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Rooftop greenhouse planned in NYC

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), and homeless services nonprofit Project Renewal opened the first phase of Bedford Green House — a project that will bring 117 affordable and supportive homes to the Bronx. The project includes 71 apartments set aside for New Yorkers who previously experienced homelessness, families impacted by mental illness and substance use disorder, and people living with HIV/AIDS, with the remaining 46 apartments for low-income households earning up to 60 percent of area median income. Project Renewal provides on-site wraparound social services, including horticultural therapy utilizing the greenhouse and aquaponic urban farming system on the building’s roof.

“Affordable housing, homelessness, public health, and our environment are all connected, and Project Renewal demonstrates the kind of creative thinking we need to tackle all of them together,” said Mayor Adams. “My administration is laser-focused, not on simply creating housing on paper but on getting New Yorkers into the safe, high-quality, affordable homes they deserve while helping fight climate change and creating our own nutritious food. We are doing that today in the Bronx at Bedford Green House, and we will continue doing it all across the city.”

“Bedford Green House helps meet our city’s urgent need for supportive and affordable housing and embodies Project Renewal’s mission to empower individuals and families to renew their lives with health, homes, and jobs,” said Eric Rosenbaum, president and CEO of Project Renewal. “More than just an apartment building, Bedford Green House’s design and programming brings residents together, from children to seniors, around shared activities that support healthy living. As we celebrate the opening of this first phase, we look forward to the second phase, bringing more housing and services to more formerly homeless New Yorkers and the wider community.”

The farm
Integrated throughout the LEED-certified building are innovative design elements, amenities, and services that support residents’ health and long-term stability. A 1,500-square-foot rooftop greenhouse and aquaponics urban farming system allows residents to grow fresh vegetables year-round. A green exterior façade features plantings that will grow to cascade from the top floors to the ground, reducing the building’s energy use and removing airborne pollutants in a borough where children are hospitalized by asthma at a rate 21 times higher than more affluent areas of New York City. Bike storage and a playground encourage active lifestyles for all ages.

“Bedford Green House is what climate and housing justice looks like,” said HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. “Project Renewal is giving low-income and formerly homeless New Yorkers a new outlook on life with the opening of Bedford Green House. This development is a model for housing New Yorkers with dignity while providing the services needed to live healthy lives. Thanks to Project Renewal, our partners at the city and state, and the entire development team for making this innovative and sustainable project a reality.”

“With critical on-site supportive services, sustainable design features, and a host of community-focused programming and amenities, Bedford Green House offers low-income and formerly homeless New Yorkers security, peace of mind, and a place to call home,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin. “I’d like to thank all of our partners and elected officials for their work to bring holistic solutions to support our city’s affordable housing needs at a time it’s needed more than ever.”  

The aquaponics farming system in the rooftop greenhouse contains fish, vegetables, herbs, and microgreens growing in a symbiotic ecosystem. The fish live in large tanks connected to a bio-filter that breaks down fish waste and carries nutrients to the plant roots, while the plants clean the water for the fish. The space outside the greenhouse will be used for organic farming in planter boxes to grow vegetables that are less suited to aquaponics. Residents will work with Project Renewal’s horticultural therapist to grow their own food year-round alongside their neighbors. Access to these green and light-filled spaces is especially beneficial during winter months when cold and darkness can contribute to depression.

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