Is there a mismatch between the housing New Yorkers need and the housing that gets built? Only 17 percent of dwelling units in the city are occupied by parents raising children under 25, according to the nonprofit Citizens Housing and Planning Council, but most new homes are designed with such traditional families in mind.

Last Monday, several architects presented their ideas for new types of housing for low-income New Yorkers. We asked them to break the rules, said Jerilyn Perine, the executive director of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, which organized the conclave (along with the Architectural League of New York). Five city commissioners were on hand to critique the proposals.

But mostly the architects, activists and government officials were upbeat about the possibility of creating new housing types. Everyone knows someone who would be well served by one of these designs, Ms. Perine said. She said she was hoping to realize one or more of the designs in a pilot program, with government cooperation, and was also organizing a museum exhibition to bring the public into the discussion.

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