The Differences Between Residential Districts

Residential districts make up around 75% of the city’s zoned land. There are ten different kinds of residential zones, starting at R1, and going to R10. The lower the number in the code, the lower the density of the area.

Each type of residential zone also has subsections, for example, the R5 division is broken down into “R5 Infill,” “R5A,” “R5B,” and “R5D.” There can be residential properties in commercial zones except for C7 and C8. Many commercial districts in Manhattan also have a high amount of residential or mixed-use buildings.

New York City has a very wide variety of residences. The following are two examples of the opposite ends of the spectrum for residential zones.


R1 is an area with single-family detached homes. There is a high open space ratio (OSR), meaning that these houses have large yards and driveways.

These kinds of areas have more of a suburban atmosphere than a city feel.

Some examples of R1 neighborhoods include:

  • Jamaica Estates, Queens
  • Todt Hill, Staten Island
  • Fieldston, The Bronx


Inversely, R10  is the code reserved for the highest possible residential density in the city. In general, there must be off-street parking available for at least 40% of the dwelling units.

Some examples of R10 neighborhoods include:

  • Long Island City, Queens
  • Downtown Brooklyn
  • Midtown Manhattan

If there is work you wish to do that does not coincide with the zoning of your building, it is possible to alter the zoning.

For more information on where zones in, ZoLa, the city’s Zoning & Land Use Map will tell you what type of zone any building is in.

Specifics on what is allowed in each of the ten residential zones can be found here.

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