A couple of weeks ago, an article entitled “Buildings with a Past” appeared in The New York Times. Accordingly, developers in New York have been turning “unlikely buildings” into residential real estate, proving that with creativity, nothing is impossible where land is a scarcity.

During the 1970s financial crisis, New York lost a million people, with many parts of the city becoming wasteland. During this period, to save money on rent and to have more studio space, New York City artists moved in abandoned warehouses in SoHo and converted them into the now-fashionable lofts. With their creativity, they revived SoHo, TriBeCa, and Williamsburg, turning them into the most desirable neighborhoods of the city. They helped us realize that abandoned factories did not have to stay that way for good.

Today, with over 8 million people fighting over every close-sized space available, New York gets creative not only with inclusionary zoning but also by converting parking lots, schools and churches into apartment buildings. Industrial sites and churches are highly priced because of their unique architecture. The High Line, once delivering goods directly to factories and warehouses, then an abandoned railroad, was converted into one of the most visited parks in New York, leading to the non-stop construction of multi-million dollar luxury condos next to it.

Once teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, New York has soared back to life to be one of the world’s most prime real estate markets. The city where no square foot is to be spared has taught us an important lesson about creative land use in response to population growth.



Image source: Construction on the High Line, 505 West 19th St: http://ny.curbed.com/tags/505-west-19th-street