This post was co-authored by Rick Bell, Executive Director of AIA NY, and Laura Manville.
Some of our readers may be wondering how or why the Chapter testifies on design issues such as 980 Madison Avenue, St. Vincent’s, and Silver Towers. Some years ago, a “Policy Board” was formed to advocate on behalf of excellence in design and planning in New York City. This Board consists of the members of the Executive Committee of the AIA NY Chapter Board, who are elected each year by the Nominating Committee, who is elected by the membership. The popularly-elected Nominating Committee, somewhat like the federal government’s Electoral College, assures diversity of representation and participation. Consequently the Policy Board is empowered to speak on behalf of the membership of the AIA New York Chapter.
The purpose of the Policy Board is to “to promote effective dialogue with regard to design and planning issues in the New York Metropolitan region,” through the formulation of policy statements that are then distributed to elected officials, regulatory agencies such as the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the City Planning Commission, or other stakeholders. Chapter staff, including the Executive Director and Policy Coordinator, as well as Board Members and Committee Chairs, often go to the relevant public hearings to testify in person, speaking on behalf of the Policy Board and membership. You can see all of the Chapter’s testimony on the News webpage, which is updated often.
The Policy Board limits its scope to those issues of citywide importance that affect the quality of the built environment through design and planning. Anyone can request that the Chapter provide input on a project, as long as the request conforms to the above criteria. The Board takes positions based on conversations with Committee Chairs, AIA members with relevant expertise, project architects, clients, and community leaders.
This blog was formed to bring a new dimension of input to the AIA NY’s policy statements, as well to inform our membership in a timely manner about these positions. For those who disagree (or agree) with positions taken by the Chapter, get involved! Join Committees, post comments, make your voice heard. The strength of our organization is its diversity and openness to competing ideas.