Its name Via Verde, meaning “the green way,” is an affordable housing complex in the South Bronx. The complex features 151 units of affordable rental housing and 71 moderate-income units oriented around a community garden and a series of green roofs. These green areas serve as both a central architectural element and hubs for the community. The green roofs also feature south-facing solar panels that produce electricity for basic building operations. As well as providing green, relaxing areas for human interaction, the building’s gardens and green roofs dissipate heat and absorb rainwater runoff. Rainwater is harvested for irrigation via a specialized irrigation system, which in turn helps to grow food and community at Via Verde. The top floor of the development, — usually reserved for the penthouse class — functions as a community gathering area.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Via Verde is part of a movement of green affordable housing being built in the Bronx. It is the latest in a series of urban renewal construction that began in the nineties, now known as the “green construction boom”. The building is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, with many environmental considerations enveloped in its design.