The goal of the Public Place project is to design a community that stands as a model of sustainable development, while providing a bold mixture of housing types to attract diverse residents. The mixture of housing types ranges from homes for families making less than 50% AMI to market rate units, as well as a mix of units set aside for senior citizens of varied economic backgrounds.
Responding to community concerns that development would not integrate with the existing community, the design continues the existing street pattern throughout the large site and consists of a mix of townhouse style dwellings and mid-to-high rise buildings. Buildings begin at 4-6 stories near the existing neighborhood and rise to a maximum of 12 stories along the Gowanus Canal. These buildings provide over 900 units of housing, more than 50,000 square feet of retail space and more than 48,000 square feet of community facility space. Additionally, the project incorporates a great deal of public open space with the design of a landscaped greenway featuring benches, a dog walk, and play areas along the canal.
Sustainable design is an integral part of the Public Place project and the desire to create a model community influenced every decision. The project includes an extensive stormwater management system which integrates rainwater into the urban landscape; geothermal heat exchangers, photovoltaics and wind turbines to reduce reliance on local utilities; and a saltwater marsh at the canal’s edge designed both to educate the community and rejuvenate canal wildlife. The Public Place was proposed to meet and exceed LEED-Gold standards.