Mengqing Chen, MLA I 2017
Summer 2016
Organization: NYC Housing Preservation and Development (NYC HPD), New York, NY
Sponsor: Harvard Club of New York Foundation

RFP Review Exercise

“This week, the HPD interns were given an RFP review exercise. I reviewed 8 proposals for a selected site. The director gave a brief introduction describing what an RFP (Request for Proposal) is and how the review process happens. HPD owns a great deal of land in New York City. When HPD decides to develop one of its’ public sites for affordable housing, it will issue an RFP. Anyone interested can find the project information and learn how to make an inquiry through the HPD website. The proposal needs to include the developer’s resume (showing the type of work they’ve done before), as well as the firm’s financial status. It should also include the contractor, engineers, attorneys, asset management and design firms with whom the developers are working.

The review consists of four major parts, including zoning, program, architectural design, and finance. Each section is reviewed in different departments within HPD. Building and Land Development Services (BLDS) is in charge of the architectural design review. I participated in reviews in this department with other interns. During the review process, we focused on several essential elements of the design. First we reviewed whether the design and strategy would make a good streetscape and would activate the sidewalk by designing open space, landscaping and other facilities. Then we checked if the massing was at a  comfortable scale that would fit into the neighborhood, and if it was articulated in a sophisticated manner. Next we reviewed the design of common spaces in the building, how those spaces engaged with the street, and how the dwelling units were distributed. I learned that the addition of special programs (such as a farmer’s market or organic farm) are good strategies to revitalize a neighborhood and activate street life.”