City Planning Projects - Give us your feedback

Waterfront Comprehensive Plan
The Department of City Planning is currently preparing a Comprehensive Plan for the over 500 miles of New York City’s waterfront, defined as New York Harbor and its tributaries, creeks and bays. Vision 2020 will build on the original Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, published in 1992, and the city’s experience over the past 18 years in order to set forth a new long range vision for a 21st Century NYC waterfront. Specifically, Vision 2020 will identify key opportunities for improving our waterfront and outline strategies to realize this new vision.
View the presentation

Key Terms Clarification Text Amendment
The Department of City Planning is proposing a text amendment to clarify and preserve the intent of the zoning regulations in relation to the terms “development” and “building,” as they are defined in the Zoning Resolution. The use of the term “development” will be clarified to mean only a new building or a new use of open land. The definition of “building” will be revised to differentiate one building from another in a way that corresponds to the Building Code and to a common understanding of what differentiates two buildings that touch.
View the presentation

What do you think of these two projects? Leave your feedback in the comments box below, or email our policy director, Jay Bond, with your ideas.


The New Domino - What do you think?


Rendering of the New Domino.

Rafael Vinoly Architects

The New Domino, on view at the Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place from April 9 to May 3, 2010, is part of the Center for Architecture’s Helfand Spotlight Series, which features current topics in New York architecture.

The future of the Domino Sugar site, the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, and New York’s waterfront will be considered this month at the Center for Architecture through an exhibition and program about ‘The New Domino.’ Rafael Viñoly Architects has designed a plan to remake the 125-year-old industrial complex into an 11.2 acre, mixed-income residential and mixed-use development. The 2,200 unit mixed-income residential and mixed-use project is currently undergoing city regulatory review.

Take a look around the exhibition, read the press release, and come back to the Center at 6 pm on Thursday, April 22, 2010, to hear Viñoly talk about the project. And stay tuned to aiany.org/blog for updates on the project.

What do you think of the master plan? Leave your comments here!

Green Design

Energy Code Trainings–What did you think?

On October 26, 2009, AIANY, ASHRAE and Urban Green kicked off the training program “Energy Code Changes: What the design team needs to know.” It addressed a variety of topics related to the greening of New York’s building codes, as part of the innovative PlaNYC.

As we prepare for a December session (read more about the all-day December 2 program here), we’d love to get feedback on the first iteration of this groundbreaking program. Post your comments below, and please, when giving your feedback, refer to specific sessions, listed below.

If you prefer for your comments to NOT be posted on AIANY’s blog, please email your feedback to enemens@aiany.org.

Session 1: Monday, October 26th
Overview of the Greening of the NYC and other Codes
Chris Garvin, AIA LEED AP, Cook + Fox, Terrapin Bright Green

Session 2: Tuesday, October 27th
Lighting Design and the Energy Code
Hayden McKay, AIA, FIALD, FIESNA, LEED AP, Horton, Lees, Brogden
Shoshanna Segal, IALD, Horton, Lees, Brogden

Session 3: Wednesday October 28th
Mechanical Systems and the Energy Code

John Rundell, LEED AP, Buro Happold

Session 4: Tuesday, November 3rd
Building Enclosures and the Energy Code
Michael Waite, LEED AP, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

Session 5: Wednesday, November 4th
Energy Modeling and the Energy Code

Active Design

Fit-City 4: Promoting Physical Activity through Design


Thomas Farley, MD, MPH, the new Commissioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, was joined by four other NYC Commissioners in kicking off the Fit city conference on June 8th at the Center for Architecture.

Photo by Emily Nemens.

Thanks to everyone that made Monday’s Fit-City 4 such a huge success! Read more about the conference in the Architectural Record’s report on the event, or watch a report about Fit-City 4 on NY1. Stay tuned to the blog, and check out the next issue of eOculus, for more on New York City’s new Active Design Guidelines, and to see what the health and design communities are doing to make New York a better place to live.


An exhibit worthy of a picture


OMA’s 23E22 in the Margaret Helfand Gallery

Melina Gills

The Center for Architecture inaugurated its Helfand Spotlight Series program last Friday with a presentation by Shohei Shigematsu, Partner and Director of the Office of Metropolitan Architecture in New York. OMA’s tower at 23 East 22nd Street is the first project to be featured in the series. An illuminated building model, a site model, one hundred process models, details, and a comprehensive project description are currently on exhibit in the newly renovated storefront Margaret Helfand Gallery.

The Center’s exhibitions team selected 23E22 “for its unique profile.” “Intended to literally turn the tradition of the stepped tower on its head, the 22nd Street tower will cant dramatically over its neighbors.” The series highlights competitions and projects under construction or recently completed that will have a far-reaching impact on New York City’s built environment. The 23E22 exhibit will come to a close on March 18, with the next installation opening on April 20.


State Budget for Capital Improvements

UPDATE: The Governor has eliminated this tax increase! Thanks to everyone who made their voices heard.

We’re keeping an especially close eye on the State Budget and spending this year, given the state of the economy and the urgent need to invest in New York’s infrastructure and projects. We were therefore dismayed to hear about a proposed change to the Budget’s definition of a “Capital Improvement.” (See p. 129 of this PDF document.) The Governor is seeking to end the tax exemption on labor for renovations, restorations and rehabilitations of existing buildings.

Governor Paterson is aware of and acting on the urgent need to stimulate job creation and bolster New York’s infrastructure during this economic downturn; it seems counterproductive to limit the definition of the term “capital improvement” to projects that constitute “new construction or a new addition to or total reconstructions of existing construction.” This change will place a much larger burden on much-needed projects, having the likely effect of reducing their numbers and scope. In turn, there will be fewer jobs and fewer dollars being spent on upgrading and maintaining our built environment.

In addition, the greenest projects are renovations of existing buildings. Construction of new sustainably designed buildings is a good step towards a greener New York; but the majority of our carbon emissions come from existing buildings, which we should hasten to make as energy-efficient as possible. Architects are engaged in this mission all over the State, and the sales tax exemption aids considerably in making many such renovations and building improvements possible.

If you feel strongly about this issue, as we do, please contact the Governor. There are various options on this page. For sample text, email Laura Manville and check the News page for the AIA’s letter.


Bicycle Storage Zoning APPROVED

bicycling on the bridge

Finally, a place to park

At yesterday’s City Planning hearing, the Commission approved the Bicycle Storage Zoning on which AIA NY submitted testimony recently. We were pleased to see that several modifications we suggested are included in the final text, including allowing reductions or waivers for affordable and elderly housing developments. This will help keep costs down and reduce the incidence of unused bicycle parking in these important housing types.

Thanks to the Department for engaging our profession in the public review process and for taking our suggestions seriously. The text is better off for it!


Waterfront Zoning Changes


The Department of City Planning seeks to improve conditions at the water’s edge.


The Department of City Planning recently proposed changes to the zoning resolution that would affect the Public Access Area design regulations at the city’s waterfront areas. The AIA NY Chapter is extremely interested in the development of a better-designed, more accessible waterfront for all New Yorkers, and was excited to see the efforts of the Department towards this goal.

After a well-attended event at the Center for Architecture, the AIA NY partnered with the American Planning Association NY Metro Chapter and the American Society of Landscape Architects to compile a joint position statement on behalf of New York City’s design professionals. Lauding the spirit of the proposal, we asked the Department to take another look at three issues that should be addressed more fully before the zoning changes are approved:

Climate Change, Sustainability, and the Water’s Edge
As the Mayor’s February 17, 2009 report stated, climate change is a fact, not a theory. Rising sea levels, increased storm surges and changes in coastal ecologies will become apparent. We are concerned that the text amendments do not currently respond to these factors.

Inter-Agency Coordination at the Waterfront
As design professionals, we - and our clients - are often in the position of negotiating conflicting regulations. We strongly recommend that effective coordination occur between the relevant City, State and Federal agencies that are interconnected with this proposal. It is an excellent time to plan more comprehensively for an interagency waterfront strategy.

Design Standards
Some of the design standards seem overly costly for developments. We have specific concerns about the shaded seating, the impact of seating requirements when extrapolated to larger sites, the unrealistic restrictions on heights of fencing and gates to private property, security concerns with regard to expanded hours of operation, and the continued requirement for overly-specific building articulation.

We testified at this morning’s public hearing and heard similar feedback from the MWA and REBNY. The complete statement with details will be on the Chapter News site imminently.


Global Dialogues on the Korean Channel

On January 12, 2009, the Center for Architecture hosted Global Dialogues: Seoul, Newark, and New York, an international discussion on the integration of environmental design and urbanism. Presented by AIA New York in association with NY Projects, Inc., the evening featured Seoul Deputy Mayor Young Gull Kwon in conversation with Newark Deputy Mayor Stefan Pryor and New York City Chief Urban Designer Alexandros Washburn.

The conversation drew press attention from the Korean Channel. Click here to view a clip of the KTV coverage.

The event was part of the continuing Global Dialogues series, headed by the newly formed AIA New York Global Dialogues Committee. January 12’s program was introduced by 2008 Chapter President James McCullar, FAIA, and moderated by Rick Bell, FAIA, Executive Director of the AIA New York Chapter.


Bicycle Storage Zoning

bicycling on the bridge

Where will this cyclist park his bike when he arrives at his destination?

Today, AIA New York is testifying before the City Planning Commission in support of a proposed zoning amendment that will require secure, indoor bicycle parking in all new residential and commercial buildings. The number of spaces required will be calculated based on a building’s floor area, just as car parking currently is. The proposed regulations are particularly specific about the physical configurations that will allow building users to maneuver and store their bicycles conveniently and safely. This will go a long way towards making bicycling a natural, safe mode of transportation for more New Yorkers, whether for commuting or leisure trips.

Chapter committees have proposed some suggestions for the text, including adding this requirement to new manufacturing uses and substantial commercial renovations; allowing more design flexibility for the placement of storage rooms in commercial buildings; using a graduated scale to calculate the bicycle parking requirements for very large commercial developments; and including waivers for residences for the elderly or special needs housing. For the zoning enthusiasts, our detailed testimony will soon be available on the Chapter News website for downloading soon.