June 25, 2019
by: Adam Roberts
Ted [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]
Ted [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

Over the last decade, awareness of bird-friendly building design has grown substantially. As glass buildings have proliferated nationally, particularly in New York, the issue has become more pressing. According to the American Bird Conservancy and New York City Audubon, over 90,000 birds in 2014 were killed by flying into glass on buildings in New York City. The American Bird Conservancy has created a means of measuring how likely a bird is to strike glass through their 1-100 Threat Factor rating.

Legislators at both the city and state level in New York have sought to create requirements to encourage or require the construction of bird-friendly buildings. In the New York City Council, Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Member Rafael Espinal have introduced Int 1482. The bill would require that over 90 percent of new buildings be coated in glass with a Threat Factor of 15 or less.

The New York State Legislature has taken a different approach. State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Steve Englebright have introduced A4055/S25, which would create a “bird-friendly building council.” The bird-friendly building council would increase awareness of bird-friendly building design, while also producing a report to make recommendations for policy changes that would promote further use of bird-friendly glass.

Members of AIA New York’s Committee on the Environment have been partnering with allied environmental organizations to promote thoughtful and effective bird-friendly glass policies. The aforementioned legislative proposals represent good faith efforts on the part of legislators to reduce bird collisions, though there is more work to be done. AIANY and its allies will continue to ensure that any legislation is beneficial to birds, well-written, and achievable for architects.

Pulse Points:

  • The end of the 2019 session in Albany was last week. Numerous reforms of New York State’s rent laws were passed. Loopholes which allowed owners to raise rents on rent-stabilized tenants were closed, while protections for tenants were expanded. You can read more about the various reforms passed here.
  • From 6-8pm on Tuesday, July 9, AIANY will be hosting an event entitled “The Economics of Making a Public Building.” The program will feature experts on how New York City plans and funds its capital projects. Register here.


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