The Transfer of Development Rights, Air Rights for short, is a zoning tool allowing developers to buy rights from nearby lots to build taller. Since TDR’s establishment nearly fifty years ago, this ability for landowners to monetize air has had a major impact on the city from the preservation of Times Square theaters to new supertall skyscrapers.

While air rights are used for new construction, the mechanism provides a reliable revenue stream to maintain parks, historic landmarks, and transit infrastructure. Yet growing reliance on air rights begs new questions: must we build anew to maintain what we already have? How can the transfer of development rights influence New York City in ways we haven’t yet considered?

The Urban Design Forum invites Ken Fisher, Robert Paley, Matthew Washington and Madelyn Wils to discuss creative proposals for how TDR can be utilized to maintain New York City’s public infrastructures.


Guest Policy ↓

The Urban Design Forum promotes conversation between invited civic leaders, designers, developers and advocates. Forum Fellows are welcome to invite one additional guest to attend. Tickets to this event are non-transferable.



About Maintaining ↓

Help us craft a vision for maintaining New York City!

Hot Air is the sixth program of Maintaining, a year-long inquiry into strengthening New York City’s physical and social infrastructure.

Share your ideas about how to care for New York City’s public assets.


Feature image courtesy of ↓

Partner & Partners