Advancing basement conversion policy is difficult because the topic is simultaneously technical and controversial. It is an issue that requires collaboration between engineers, elected officials, advocates, and government agencies.

In 2019, CHPC hosted Housing Innovation Lab: Basements, a half-day symposium event to explore innovative practices and new technology for making basement apartments safer and more habitable. Housing Innovation Lab brought a team of experts and researchers from around the world into a discussion with New York City housing policymakers and housing industry practitioners on ways to enhance light, air quality, and fire safety in basement homes. The event served as a forum to explore and debate new concepts and practices for making basement apartments safer and more habitable, and to consider their outcomes relative to the requirements of the New York City building code.

The companion publication, Basements Almanac: New Concepts & Technology for Improving the Safety & Habitability of Basement Apartments in New York City, compiles concepts explored at the event with thoughtful commentary and new technology.  Offering tangible, immediate strategies to improve safety and quality of life in any residential space, Basements Almanac serves as a reference guide for housing industry practitioners seeking better design in all types of homes. The almanac is also intended as a resource for tenants and homeowners of basement apartments in need of immediate solutions for improved safety and habitability.

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