Jesse Lazar headshot
Jesse Lazar, Assoc. AIA, Executive Director, AIA New York | Center for Architecture. Photo: Samuel Lahoz.

As we welcome 2024, many in our communities are justifiably anxious about attention turning once again toward disturbing national politics during an important election year. There’s no denying that will happen, but issues that are critical to architects and the people whose lives we seek to improve are active on the local level, regardless of national elections. We are heading into the year with some crucial and exciting goals, and are eager to work with government officials and policymakers to see our priorities get across the finish line both at City Hall and in Albany.

We are heading into the year with some crucial and exciting goals.

In 2023, the AIA New York Chapter tackled an incredible 28 advocacy issues, including procurement reform, office conversions, and congestion pricing, and we celebrated legislative successes with the passage of the All-Electric Buildings Act at the state level and the Permanent Outdoor Dining Program (Dining Out NYC) and the Fair Housing Framework at the city level. We also applauded the creation of a new role in City Hall, chief public realm officer, now held by Ya-Ting Liu.

New York City is currently facing overlapping crises as never before, with affordable housing being out of reach for many New Yorkers, climate change accelerating and causing more frequent extreme weather events, and an often uncoordinated use of valuable public space. AIANY has outlined a 2024 agenda, available on our website, that is a comprehensive approach to addressing some of New York’s most critical challenges. The Chapter’s advocacy efforts will be centered on achieving five main policy goals:

1. Increasing affordable housing supply by allowing alternative solutions (office-to-residential conversions and accessory dwelling units) and zoning changes;

2. Effectively implementing the electrification laws passed in recent years at the state and city levels (Local Law 97, All-Electric Buildings Act, and Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act);

3. Securing funding for the city’s vital infrastructure projects (Penn Station Redevelopment and Second Avenue Subway) and maintaining a state of good repairs;

4. Rethinking how we manage the public realm and precious public space (specifically, outdoor dining, containerization, and public bathrooms); and

5. Improving procurement practices and accessibility for minority/women-owned business enterprises and small firms.

These are lofty goals that aim to move the needle on massive challenges, but we know from experience that public officials, government workers, and the public at large will benefit from the expertise of our professional community. Working through AIANY, our members can lobby government groups, donate to candidates, provide valuable feedback on bills and initiatives, and help agencies do their work in a way that better serves both architects and the public. The Chapter organizes this collective action all year, every year, whether elections are looming or not. We hope you’ll consider getting involved in our efforts. A good way to start is by joining a committee or checking out

To echo the theme set by AIA National President Kim Dowdell, AIA, we believe we can do “More in ’24” when we aim high and work together. Cheers to a new year!


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