Designing Services for Housing

Posted by Public Policy Lab

We’re very happy to announce the release of Public & Collaborative: Designing Services for Housing, a publication created in partnership with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development and Parsons DESIS Lab. The complete 80-page document is available for free download as a PDF.

Designing Services for Housing is the culmination of 18 months of discovery and co-design with agency staff, service providers, and New York City residents. The report illustrates how our project team applied user research and service design methods to the provision of housing services.

Crucially, it’s also a how-to implementation guide. The report outlines four pilot proposals for immediate testing and evaluation by the agency. Specific sections of the four-part publication include:

  • an introduction to the history and current provision of affordable housing in New York City and an overview of the applicability of co-design and co-production methods to housing services
  • a “kit of ideas” that proposes a range of conceptual design opportunities in six broad categories of housing service, from Section 8 rental vouchers to code enforcement
  • four proposals for pilot programs, developed by Public Policy Lab fellows, related specifically to enhancing how New Yorkers learn about and apply for affordable housing
  • an evaluation rubric for assessing both the pilot implementation process and the impact of the project’s overall design objectives

We’re very proud that all four of our PPL fellows’ service proposals were adopted by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development. Pilot testing of a new suite of information materials created by our team (see, for example, PDFs of the What to Expect and After You Apply guides),and the three community-based engagement strategies — hyper-local marketing, housing ambassadors, and street team — was completed in  2014. See our report, Evaluating New Housing Services, for outcomes of the pilots.

This project was generously supported by a Rockefeller Foundation New York City Cultural Innovation Fund award.