by Justin Pascone
Last month, the grassroots coalition Architects Advocate published an open letter to President Trump asking for his support of the design industry’s commitment to addressing climate change. The coalition is inviting firms across to the country to sign the letter and express their support to enact meaningful legislation to mitigate climate change.
Signed by 684 architecture, landscape architecture, and design firms, the letter proposes three actions to tackle climate change: investing in a US economy that is powered by renewable energy through cost-effective and innovative solutions; resisting the influence of special interests in politics to create a level playing field for renewable energy technologies, with either subsidies for renewable energy technologies equal to those that support fossil fuels or all subsidies across energy sources removed entirely; and re-affirming the United States’ participation in the Paris climate agreement. The letter also invites the president “to join our commitment to developing healthy and prosperous communities, and to designing and building the great America that future generations deserve.”
Started as a public outreach initiative, Architects Advocate sees the architecture community on the front lines of addressing climate change and is “dedicated to creating healthy, productive, and safe communities for all.” In the US, buildings (114 million households and more than 4.7 million commercial buildings) account for almost 40 percent of total energy use and associated CO2 emissions and for 72 percent of electricity use. The coalition gives voice to these issues and speaks out publicly in support of action on climate change.
For its next steps, the coalition plans to reach out to local and regional elected officials, and hold public forums to discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with climate change. If you are interested in learning more about Architects Advocate, continue here. If you would like to add your company to the list of open letter signatories, continue here.
- On 01.31.17, AIANY hosted a National Design Services Act Info Session. The event highlighted 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. For those that were not able to attend and would like to learn more, please sign up for the AIA Advocacy Network (check the box at the bottom to get NDSA specific info) and like/follow their Facebook and Twitter page.
- On 01.31.17, AIANY testified before the NYC Council Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management in favor of Intro 201, a bill to require recycling of discarded carpet from commercial buildings. Along with our support, AIANY suggested improvements to the bill to ensure successful implementation and offered to work with relevant stakeholders to address these issues and move the effort forward. To read AIANY’s full testimony, continue here.
- On 02.06.17, AIA New York State and a coalition of other trade organizations including NYBC, AGC, ACEC, and BTEA held a joint press conference with Senator Diane Savino and Assembly Member Steven Englebright to support the New York Emergency Responders Act. The act would protect designers, contractors, and engineers when called upon by the government to respond quickly to natural and man-made disasters like 9/11, Superstorm Sandy, and Hurricane Irene.
- On 02.10.17, AIANY will host “Conquering the Energy Code for Commercial Architects and Engineers.” The training course provides critical knowledge about significant changes, new provisions, and best practices to avoid objections and stalled projects, starting with the basics of energy code design and construction requirements, teaches the breadth of the residential/commercial provisions and ends with clarification of the documentation and inspection processes. For more information and registration, continue here.
- On 02.13.17, NYU Wagner and the Center for an Urban Future will host “Driving Innovation: Can Cities Serve as Models for Solving Some of the Nation’s Biggest Domestic Policy Challenges?” The symposium builds on the findings of Innovation and the City, a recent report by the Center for an Urban Future and NYU Wagner that profiles 15 of the most successful municipal policy reforms across the US and around the world. For more information and registration, continue here.
- On 02.28.17, the New York Metro Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) are hosting “NYC Waterfront Zoning 101.” The professional education session, designed for planners and architects with projects along NYC’s waterfront, will cover the nuances and regulatory guidance to complying with waterfront zoning in NYC. For more information and registration, continue here.