Housing Ecologies

The Arverne Urban Renewal Area on the Rockaway peninsula – a total area of 308 acres – was cleared in the late 1960s and subsequently left undeveloped, despite numerous proposals ranging from 10,000 units of housing to a multimedia gaming park and hotel complex.

The NYC HPD Request for Proposals, which had considerable support for innovative housing design, was for the western sector of the site and totaled approximately 100 acres with a target density of 8 units an acre.  The RFP called for the development of market-rate one and two-family houses. The site was owned by the City and was the largest developable tract of land in New York City.  The development was to be a public/private venture in that the housing was to be privately developed market rate housing, the land was donated by the city and the roads and infrastructure subsidized by the state.


This urban design and housing project was commissioned by the Architectural League of New York and Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture as a research proposal in conjunction with an RFP issued by the Housing and Preservation Department for a new housing development in Far Rockaway, New York.


Far Rockaway, Queens, NY


Arverne by the Sea

Project Type

Design Proposal



MFA Design Team

Scott Marble, Karen Fairbanks, Jake Nishimura, Lars Fischer, Todd Rouhe, Benjamin Hummitzsch, Maya Galbis, Laya Massague

Marble Fairbanks was part of the Columbia University project team led by Michael Bell and including Michael Bell Architecture and Mark Rakatansky Studio. The three teams developed independent proposals for separate sections of the site while working collaboratively to develop strategies for housing at this site.