What is Affordable Housing? – Online Map

The phrase “affordable housing” seems plain enough, but it doesn’t always mean what people think it does. It actually has a technical definition, which can determine what gets built and who gets to live there. CUP created the Affordable Housing Toolkit to help communities answer the all-important question, “Affordable to whom?”

The Affordable Housing Toolkit comes in an actual toolbox. But CUP also made an online map that lets you explore the income demographics of any NYC neighborhood and print it out to share with elected officials or other audiences. You can also look at different rent prices and see how they impact who can afford to live there. Because populations change every year, you can now access data from different years on the map.

Go here for the current data. Or here for the 2008 version.

Funding Support

This project was made possible by the Nathan Cummings Foundation; public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; the Independence Community Foundation; and the Park Slope Civic Council.

Special Thanks

Mark Torrey, Sam Holleran, Janine Soper, Karen Miller, Carlos Martinez, Adolfo Mogilevich, Mariana Mogilevich, Maria Paula Lorgia, Amélie Bertholet, Maria Carrizosa, Yuhka Miura, Oscar Nunez, Jeff Kasper, Nick Legowski


  • CUP
  • Concept & project direction
  • Rosten Woo, John Mangin
  • Site revisions
  • Mark Torrey, Christine Gaspar
  • Web & information design
  • Sha Hwang, Zach Watson, William Wang, Raed Atoui
  • Additional design
  • MTWTF: Glen Cummings
  • Mapping Assistance
  • Inbar Kishoni


Affordable Housing Appraised: A Review
  • Urban Omnibus
  • December 14, 2015

This wealth of diverse material, rounded out by interactive features like the Center for Urban Pedagogy’s digital “What is Affordable Housing” toolkit and the Citizens Housing and Planning Council’s “Inside the Rent” app, manage to convey not only why government is involved in affordable housing (because the private sector alone can’t, or won’t, provide it), but who that housing is for (a wide spectrum of individuals who otherwise wouldn’t have a place to live).