Tiny Lots in Queens May Soon See Innovative Affordable Housing

A tiny lot at Rockaway Boulevard near 128th Street. Map courtesy of HPD .

A tiny lot at Rockaway Boulevard near 128th Street. Map courtesy of HPD .

By Sara Bosworth

Hoping to solve a peculiar design problem, the city is calling on architects to consider a peculiar request: think small.

In this case, the instructions are literal. The Department of Housing and Development announced on Monday the Big Ideas for Small Lots initiative, an architectural competition to fill 23 of New York City’s narrowest vacant lots, many of which have been neglected and trash-strewn for decades. Two are in Queens.

The Queens sites are located at 113th Avenue between 155th street and 156th street and Rockaway Boulevard near 128th Street.

The city, in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects New York, will host a two-phase design challenge that asks architects to create models for affordable housing on a small scale — the lots range in size from 663 square feet in the Bronx to 4,000 square feet in Staten Island.

Big Ideas for Small Lots hopes to leverage the tiny, vacant spaces as part of HPD’s effort to build and preserve 300,000 affordable homes by 2026.

Submissions for Stage I of the competition are due March 24, at which point HPD will award a $3,000 stipend to five finalists, who will be invited back to present Stage II proposals in September.

Proposals will be given to a panel of nine judges of architects, urban designers, city planners, private developers and designers.

The sites are scheduled to be designated in November.