Melrose Commons is a 30-block Urban Renewal Area anchored around Melrose Avenue and East 161st Street in the Bronx. Working with Nos Quedamos, Magnusson Architecture and Planning, PC (MAP) provided planning and technical assistance to craft a plan that reflected the community’s vision for its revitalization and sustainable future development. This plan was officially adopted by the New York City Planning Commission in 1994, and over the past decade more than 2,000 units of affordable housing have been developed within the URA boundary, along with community and retail space. MAP has designed a series of new buildings and continues to work in the neighborhood. In each new development we collaborate with funding organizations and city agencies to promote the highest feasible environmental and design standards.
This dramatically successful 20-year neighborhood revitalization earned Stage II LEED-ND Silver certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) Pilot Program. As developed by the USGBC, the Congress for New Urbanism, and the National Resources Defense Council, the LEED-ND Rating System integrates the principle of smart growth, urbanism, and green building into the first national standard for neighborhood design. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a development’s location and design meet accepted high standards for environmentally responsible development.
Through the LEED-ND Pilot Program, MAP documented and promoted sustainable infill development in older urban neighborhoods, a goal that was espoused throughout the planning process in Melrose Commons. Certification of this plan at the Silver level not only raises awareness of the accomplishments in the South Bronx, but also increases public confidence in the sustainable redevelopment of other urban neighborhoods.