Citywide Planning Initiatives

Two important City initiatives have made their way through the public review process and were approved by the City Council: Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) and Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA). These zoning text amendments are two of the many initiatives that make up the Housing New York plan, Mayor de Blasio's roadmap for creating and preserving 200,000 affordable homes to serve a range of New Yorkers, from the very poorest to the middle class households that make up the City's workforce.

Mandatory Inclusionary Housing

As a key initiative of Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan, Housing New York, the Department of City Planning is launching a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) program that will require through zoning actions a share of new housing to be permanently affordable. Developed in close consultation with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and informed by extensive policy and financial feasibility analysis, this program marks a new approach to ensuring neighborhood economic diversity as we plan for growth.

The requirement will work together with City housing subsidies and other incentives, and future zoning changes. NYC’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing is the most rigorous zoning requirement for affordable housing of any major U.S. city.

Zoning for Quality and Affordability

Zoning establishes limits on the use, size, and shape of buildings, with numerous zoning districts mapped in the city’s diverse neighborhoods to reflect their varying density and character. These limits help give shape to neighborhoods and predictability to their future. But sometimes they also have unintended consequences, discouraging the very types of outcomes they were intended to encourage. Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) addresses several ways in which these regulations, drafted a generation ago, have in practice discouraged the affordability and quality of recent buildings.


  • Make it easier to provide the range of affordable senior housing and care facilities needed to meet the varied needs of an aging population, and to help seniors remain in their communities
  • Enable Inclusionary Housing buildings, which provide mixed-income housing, to construct quality buildings that fit the full amount of housing they are allowed under zoning today
  • Reduce unnecessarily high costs of building transit-accessible affordable housing, and make taxpayer dollars go further toward meeting our affordable housing goals


  • Change rules that lead to flat, dull apartment buildings, to accommodate and encourage façade articulation, courtyards, and other elements that provide visual variety and make the pedestrian experience more interesting
  • Encourage better ground-floor retail spaces and residential units with adequate ceiling heights
  • Maintain rules that work well today, including the essential rules of “contextual” zoning districts and lower-density zoning districts