March 17, 2021
by: David Leven, FAIA
New York City Hall. Photo: MusikAnimal via Wikimedia Commons.
New York City Hall. Photo: MusikAnimal via Wikimedia Commons.

Last year, AIA New York launched the AIA New York Political Action Fund (AIANY PAF), which enables our association to support candidates for political office. We heard from members that the upcoming Democratic Primary for Mayor, Comptroller, Borough President, and City Council is particularly important to their practices and the future of the city. Term limits are forcing out these incumbent elected officials, meaning most of our local elected officials will be new.

The pivotal June 22 Democratic Primary, during which most races will be decided in our heavily Democratic city, is only a few months away. We are pleased to provide our members with a Voter Guide of candidates for city office who are strong supporters of architectural issues. Candidates were evaluated based on their policy positions, the strengths of their campaigns, and responses to AIA New York’s candidate questionnaire. This voter guide is available online and as a PDF, which you may print and bring into the polling booth. Before the election, remember to confirm which council district you live in, along with your voter registration status, as only registered Democrats can vote in the primary.

You may notice that some races have multiple candidates who are “Highly Rated.” This is because our city will be using ranked choice voting for the first time this year. We are not telling our members who to rank in what order, only that multiple candidates in a race are worth ranking. We did not name a Highly Rated candidate in every race, since we chose to focus our attention on those candidates most explicitly focused on architectural issues.

We hope AIANY PAF’s work will help not only help educate you, our members, but also those candidates we are supporting. Few candidates for office have worked in the design and construction industries, meaning that our issues, which are often technical in nature, are difficult for them to grasp. By building relationships with these candidates prior to being elected, we seek to enhance their understanding of architecture and build greater levels of trust.

Lastly, I wanted to thank you, our members, for spurring the chapter to take this important step to increase architecture’s presence in our city’s political discourse. I also want to thank AIANY PAF’s distinguished Steering Committee for overseeing this process. We strongly encourage you to support AIANY PAF’s efforts to enhance the importance of architecture in government by making a donation.

If you have any questions or seek to become involved in a political campaign, please reach out to Adam Roberts, Director of Policy, at We are happy to assist any members who want to become more civically engaged. Again, thank you to all our members who have made this effort a huge success.


Our website has detected that you are using a browser that will prevent you from accessing certain features. An upgrade is recommended to experience. Use the links below to upgrade your exisiting browser.