Mercer, the global consulting leader, publishes an annual Quality of Living survey ranking 450 cities across the globe. The survey takes into account factors such as political and social environments, economic environments, medical and health accessibility, public services, housing, and natural environments. As European cities dominate the top ten positions, with Vienna, Austria coming in first place for the past eight years, large U.S. cities such as San Francisco (29), Boston (35) and New York (44) unsurprisingly have lower rankings. However, New York’s lack of green space and quality of fresh air is, lately, providing developers an opportunity to design buildings in a way that improves New Yorkers’ quality of living.
Today, people are more mindful about wellness, local and organic foods, sustainable living, yoga and meditative practices, and holistic education philosophies evident in Waldorf schools. Even the popular spinning company, SoulCycle, advertises that it “doesn’t just change bodies, it changes lives.” In New York, people are drawn to these down-to-earth, soul finding, environmentally friendly trends, which developers are capitalizing off of. More buildings are establishing a sense of community and culture with communal spaces and rooftop gardens that hold workshops, from how-to-sessions in fermenting your own kombucha to more mainstream gardening classes.
The condo development Pierhouse along the Brooklyn waterfront offers “energy-efficient solar shade system[s]”, built-in “odorless composting unit[s]” and even a meditation studio. New Yorkers are drawn to these new developments for the green, organic lifestyle they promote. It is no surprise that properties surrounding Central Park come at such high prices as proximity to green space is relatively rare. The solution for the rest of New York seems to be communal rooftop gardens and environmentally responsible buildings. Developers are integrating parts of country lifestyle and luxury amenities into high rises in order to lure new residents. One Manhattan Square on the Lower East Side even installed an adult tree house above the building’s garden.
New developments that reach for a higher quality of living in New York go much further than providing rooftop gardens and composting units. These luxury condos and co-ops include spas, infrared saunas, large swimming pools, entertainment rooms, culinary lounges, children playrooms, bike shares, meditation studios, pet spas, and most importantly, lavish views featuring New York’s skyline. The lower Manhattan condo 50 West even offers its residents the opportunity to cycle on Porsche bikes, which cost $3,700 each. The New York Times explains that “New York luxury buildings have embraced the hallmarks of 1970s hippiedom with a high-end twist” as New Yorkers strive for a higher quality of living, without having to move across the Atlantic.