Making Room

Our flagship research project looks at how demographic change is affecting 'the household' and how housing typologies can evolve to keep up.

Making Room is a long-term CHPC research initiative exploring how demographic change is affecting ‘the household’ and how different housing typologies (the design and layouts of housing units) can be used as a tool to satisfy emerging housing needs.

Single Male

CHPC created a unique data model which revealed the diversity of 21st century household configurations. The majority of NYC (and US) households are single people living alone and people sharing their homes with other adults.


Our research also showed that zoning and building codes often hold back housing typologies from being able to be built.

Part of the Making Room exhibition at the National Building Museum, Washington DC

We have promoted this work at multiple venues across the country and organized numerous high profile education events including symposia, housing design competitions, and museum exhibitions at the Museum of the City of New York and the National Building Museum  which opened in November 2017 and runs until September 2018.


The Making Room initiative has resulted in the NYC government and housing industry rethinking the types of housing units that are needed in the housing marketplace. The Bloomberg administration launched a pilot to develop a building of micro-studios on a piece of City-owned land on East 27th Street in Manhattan based on the Making Room principles, now known as Carmel Place. The minimum size for apartments in the New York City Zoning Resolution was also removed as part of the Zoning for Quality and Affordability text change in 2016.

The Bloomberg administration micro-unit pilot, Carmel Place

We have now developed the Making Room approach to housing policy/planning which can be applied anywhere:

1)    How is the population grouping itself into households?
2)    What are potential options for housing typologies that can support new household arrangements and lifestyles?
3)    How can zoning, planning, subsidy, and building code controls change so that the development of new housing typologies is allowed and even encouraged.

The approach is set out in the Making Room: Housing for a Changing America at the National Building Museum running from 2017-2018 and in the Making Room Handbook released in 2018.

Making Room Timeline

In 2009, we hosted an international design symposium to acquaint a New York City audience with housing design innovation occurring all around the world that is responding to the needs of the growing single population, changing demographics, and booming cities.

In 2011, we partnered with the Architectural League of New York to commission developer/architect teams to take on a unique challenge: design an array of accommodating, desirable, safe living units for singles, shared households, and extended families, without the current restrictions of certain housing regulations, including minimum unit size, density calculations, and occupancy standards. We then partnered with the Museum of the City of New York to showcase all of our work on this initiative at the Making Room museum exhibition. The exhibit ran for 9 months, garnered huge international media coverage, and attracted over 150,000 visitors.


Making Room then made policy waves when Mayor Bloomberg issued a Request for Proposals for the adAPT pilot project to implement and test one of these ideas in the marketplace. Developer/architect teams were asked to design and develop a building of micro-units for single adults and small households; the winning submission was developed on a site on East 27th Street in Manhattan by Monadnock and nArchitects. Making Room also inspired changes to the New York City Zoning Resolution in 2016.

This year we are so excited to open the national Making Room exhibition: Housing for a Changing America at the National Building Museum in Washington DC. We hope that the Making Room approach can help urban, suburban and rural areas help to address their housing needs through new typologies.


New Exhibition
Making Room: Housing for a Changing America

Making Room: Housing for a Changing America is a national exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington DC featuring CHPC’s data on how demographic change is affecting households and housing need. And showcasing some exciting housing design strategies that can offer more realistic choices for our 21st century households.

Original Making Room Publication ×+

Making Room-Why Should We Care?

Read the original Making Room publication that launched the initiative.

Project Website ×+

Making Room Website

Related News
December 12, 2017 - by CHPC
November 25, 2017 - by CHPC
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