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January 13, 2017
by Justin Pascone
The Unisphere at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

As AIANY begins the New Year, we look ahead to some of the major policy areas and notable events our chapter will be focusing on in 2017. As the representative of more than 5,500 practicing architects, allied professionals, and students, our primary focus remains supporting the future of the profession and allowing communities to benefit from the value of architecture. Through our mission of public outreach and the elevation of the profession of architecture, AIANY continues to be a vocal presence in public debates on policy issues and major projects in New York.

2017 Policy Areas:

Regulatory
AIANY continues to monitor and focus on laws, rule changes, and agency policies that impact the practice of architecture. We strive to promote policies that have the potential to remove regulatory impediments to the practice, with particular concern to collaborations with the NYC Department of Buildings and other city agencies, liability issues for professionals, project delivery methods, and requirements concerning registering as lobbyists.

Design Excellence
These include policy and laws that impact the quality of the built environment and the public’s appreciation of design and planning excellence. Major rezoning efforts like Midtown East and East Harlem will be at the forefront this year, as will issues concerning affordable housing and historic preservation.

Public Development and Infrastructure
AIANY will maintain a concerned interest in public buildings and infrastructure projects both in New York City and throughout the region. These include major transportation projects like Penn Station, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and the envisioned Brooklyn-Queens Connector. We’ll also focus on ‘soft’ infrastructure projects like our public schools, hospitals, and parks.

Sustainability and Resiliency
AIANY will focus on the Mayor’s 80×50 initiative, which involves mitigation and adaptation approaches to reducing energy use throughout the built environment. We maintain a strong working relationship with several agencies on these fronts and will continue to utilize our expertise to advance these initiatives.

2017 Notable Advocacy Events

New York City municipal elections
This fall, NYC residents will head to the polls to elect their local officials. There will be dozens of races on the ballot for primaries in September and the general election in November, including Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attempt at re-election. Citywide positions of Public Advocate and Comptroller will also be voted on, as well as all five Borough Presidents, all 51 City Council seats, and two District Attorney positions. AIANY will be using this upcoming electoral season as an opportunity to speak with key candidates on issues our members express.

Hurricane Sandy 5th Anniversary
This October will mark five years since Hurricane Sandy leveled devastating impacts to our city and region that are still felt today. AIANY hopes to use this anniversary as a chance to not only reflect back on the efforts since the storm, but also recognize and work towards the challenges still ahead.

AIANYS Lobby Day
On 05.17.17, AIANYS will host an annual gathering, allowing members from across the state to meet with their representatives in Albany to advocate for our state legislative agenda.

FitCity 2017
Now in its twelfth year, this annual conference examines how the design of the built environment can create opportunities for increasing physical activity, increase access to healthier foods, and help to improve health equity across neighborhoods. AIANY, in partnership with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, will again host the conference this June.

AIA SpeakUP Conference
From 07.19-21.17, AIA national hosts their second annual skills-based conference focused on training new advocates in the profession.

If you’re interested in learning more about any of these events, please contact Justin Pascone at jpascone@aiany.org

Pulse Points

  • On 01.20.16, the AIANY Diversity and Inclusion Committee is hosting the Design as Protest Cypher at the Center for Architecture. As part of a nationwide action on Inauguration Day, the event will connect activists, community organizers, architects, planners, designers, and artists in order to upend injustice, discrimination, and hate. At the New York cypher, participants will think of new ways to use design in support of at-risk communities during the next administration. Ideas that are generated will be implemented as public space interventions. Concepts from these nationwide cyphers will be compiled into a visual compendium for activists, designers, and artists to use, and ultimately tackle, challenges faced during the new administration. For more info and registration, continue here.
  • On 01.31.17, AIANY is hosting a National Design Services Act Info Session. The event will highlight one of AIA’s biggest federal policy initiatives, the National Design Services Act (NDSA), which would enable recent architecture graduates to work with non-profit community design centers in exchange for student debt relief. We’ll also hear from some of our local community design centers and discuss ways you can get involved with this issue and more at the local chapter. Current students and emerging professionals are encouraged to attend! For more info, continue here.

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