*But may have been too far in the shadow of a huge residential skyscraper to know to ask!
The purpose of the interactive map below, developed by The Municipal Arts Society of New York (MAS), is to alert New Yorkers of the potential for skyscrapers to rise where none now exist.
The thought process behind the project was that by raising awareness, neighborhood residents could decide to take a more active role, if they so choose, in the approval process that a potential developer would need to go through.
The data in this map is meant for informational purposes and does not mean that development will definitely occur but that the chance of it exists.
From the MAS website these are the terms describing how transferrable air-rights work:
Transferable development rights, TDRs or air rights, allow for the transfer of unused development rights to another development site. The transfer of these air rights allows buildings to become taller and bigger than the city zoning code allows.
These maps concern the primary way transferring unused development rights in New York City: zoning lot mergers. Adjacent lots in the city can be assembled and treated as a single zoning lot, or “merged” into one lot to allow development rights to transfer from one site to another.
Development on the site is then allowed “as-of-right,” meaning it does not require public or environmental review. Floor Area Ratio, or FAR, is the principal bulk regulation controlling the scale of buildings. FAR is the ratio of total building floor area allowed to the area of its host zoning lot. A higher FAR generally allows larger buildings and a lower FAR allows smaller buildings.
Finding the total amount of development allowed on a site requires a simple calculation. The area of the lot multiplied by the FAR produces the maximum amount of development allowed. This is usually quantified in square feet. For example, on a 10,000 square foot lot with a maximum FAR of 1.0, the floor area on the zoning lot cannot exceed 10,000 square feet.
Adapted from the New York City Department of City Planning glossary
New York City zoning has three types of FAR: residential, commercial and facility. For this analysis, the highest of the three was selected and defined as the maximum FAR. The built FAR is defined in the MapPLUTO dataset (see right). There are three classifications of lots shown in the map:
- Available FAR: lots with available air rights. Available FAR is defined as maximum FAR minus Built FAR. If the result is greater than zero, the tax lot is classified as having available FAR.
- No Available FAR: lots that are fully built out to their allowed FAR and have no air rights that could be purchased. Some buildings may exceed their allowed FAR; for example, a building may have been built before the current zoning was passed.
Because there are additional ways of purchasing air rights (namely, Landmark Transfers and Special Purpose District Transfers), these maps do not represent the full extent of how air rights can purchased. Similarly, these maps do not account for height and setback controls, which would limit the size of a building in certain districts. Nor is there any guarantee that because air rights are available, a zoning lot merger could be assembled or would be supported by the market.
Interactive NYC Air-Rights Map