On 09.03.14, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman addressed a crowd at Pace Law School at the “Beyond Gridlock: State Leadership on Energy and Environmental Issues” presentation. The event announced the release of a new report Current and Future Trends in Extreme Rainfall Across New York State by the Environmental Protection Bureau of the Attorney General’s Office. Schneiderman spoke about how the effects of climate change are already impacting our lives, and the case studies of extreme rainfall in the report personalize the challenges. The federal government is unable to take the action required to combat it. State governments and non-profit organizations must fill the voids. New York State was unprepared for Superstorm Sandy, but Schneiderman’s office wants the state to become the model of preparedness and resiliency for the country in the face of natural disasters. By working with utility companies and fellow policy makers, Schneiderman hopes to do some transformation politics and get people to see things differently.
A discussion following Schneiderman’s keynote address focused on the important work going on now. Karl Rábago, executive director of the Energy and Climate Center at Pace Law School moderated the panel of leaders in energy and environmental advocacy, which included: Raya Salter, senior utility advocate, Natural Resources Defense Council; Abigail Dillen, vice president of litigation, Climate and Energy, Earthjustice; Cecil Corbin-Mark, deputy director/director of policy initiatives, WE ACT; Chris Goeken, legislative director, New York League of Conservation Voters; and Lemuel Srolovic, environmental protection bureau chief, NYS Attorney General’s Office. The discussion focused on the power of community action in making change, and preventing gridlock in New York State government by finding non-traditional allies. Building healthy communities is possible, but we have to hold our politicians accountable. AIANY advocates for legislation that both supports green building techniques and, in turn, better environmental practices.
- On 09.02.14, the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and AARP Foundation released Housing America’s Older Adults—Meeting the Needs of an Aging Population. The report concludes that America does not have a sufficient supply of affordable, accessible, and well-located housing with coordinated social services for the growing senior population. Read the report here.
- On 09.04.14, AIA announced that it would partner with alliantgroup for Section 179D (Energy Efficient Commercial Building Deduction) and other corporate tax services. alliantgroup will assist AIA member firms take advantage of opportunities under the tax code. Read the press release here.
- The Long Island Sound Study, a partnership of federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as nonprofit and community groups and businesses, recently released an updated Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for restoring and protecting the Sound over the next two decades. Read the press release here.
- On 09.08.14, AIANY 2014 President Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, and I met with New York State Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal in her Upper West Side district office. We talked about local and state issues, including transportation, open space, sustainability, landmarking, and the Good Samaritan legislation that did not pass during the previous legislative session, but will brought before the Assembly again in 2015. We also discussed the Rosenthal’s petition with NYC Council Member Jumaane Williams for the abolition of separate entrances (a.k.a. “poor doors”) to mixed-income apartment buildings. The online petition is posted here.
- AIANY and the NYC Department of Design + Construction (DDC) are collaborating on an emerging architects task force aimed at brainstorming ways that the DDC can support emerging firms in their bids to do city work, and more specifically DDC Design Excellence projects, and how emerging architects can prepare their practices for city work. The first meeting was held on 09.16.14.
- On 09.17.14, members of AIANY, AIA New York State, ACEC, and NYBC gathered to discuss the package of bills floating before the New York State Assembly and Senate that relate to emergency response, including the Good Samaritan Act. The organizations discussed how they can assist each other in getting such necessary protections for the industry.
- On 09.09.14, members of the AIANY Executive Committee and chairs of the Historic Buildings and Cultural Facilities Committee attended a presentation by Davis Brody Bond Principal Carl Krebs, AIA, and Frick Collection Director Ian Wardropper about the museum’s proposed expansion. The addition would allow the institution to open up the second floor of the Frick house to the public and convert the existing offices into gallery spaces. The addition would include classrooms, ADA-compliantelevators, an auditorium, offices, conservation facilities, and a loading dock. This would allow the museum to increase public programming, show more of its permanent collection, and have space for temporary exhibitions. It would also create a physical connection between the museum and its resource library. The addition would replace the Russell Page-designed lawn from the late 1970s. The Frick will go to the Landmarks Preservation Commission in February, but before then, the institution and architects look forward to hearing more from AIANY and other community groups.
- Join AIANY in the streets for the largest rally in history to demand action on climate change – just before a landmark UN summit where world leaders, including President Obama, will be discussing the climate crisis. AIANY members and staff will gather and march together as part of a green building contingent, which includes: New York Passive House, GreenHomeNYC, Regional Plan Association, Solar One, Urban Green Council, and AIANY. For more information on the march, visit the official site here. If you are interested in marching with AIANY, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emma Pattiz is the AIANY Policy Coordinator. For more information on AIANY policy initiatives and programs, please contact her at email@example.com.