by Lance Jay Brown
What follows are adapted remarks from the 2013 Inaugural.
Being President of the AIA New York Chapter is an honor, a challenge, a responsibility, and, truly, a great opportunity. My many stellar predecessors, leaders on whose shoulders I stand, have accomplished so much for this institution and profession, and I want to match their service and achievements with my own.
Architecture is a great profession – but for it to be effective in its time, we must work at the intersection of design and urban policy. As we conclude 12 years of exemplary mayoral leadership of Michael R. Bloomberg, we welcome a new mayor, elected with a landslide mandate. Bill de Blasio inherits exceptional improvements and results from the Bloomberg years. Although there will be continued focus on the issues raised in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and on Mayor Bloomberg’s broadly successful PlaNYC initiative, does anyone doubt that we have an opportunity to look afresh at how our city, our beloved city, will grow and change?
There is a tradition that each AIANY President has a presidential theme. In 2014, I have chosen to build upon and extend AIANY advocacy. As your incoming Chapter President, I announce that the 2014 Presidential Theme is “Civic Spirit: Civic Vision.”
The “new” in New York is evident all around us: new citywide leadership, an expanding population, and increasing challenges from climate change phenomena. Our design professions face significant, consequential civic opportunities, unprecedented tests, and new responsibilities at all scales.
AIANY will confront these opportunities and challenges through a rich array of programs that help create, celebrate, and critique the city and its needs. The city needs new design strategies for evolving economic, political, and climate changes. We will be able to meet New York’s “unavoidable opportunities” only if we can unite, with civic goals, our public and private realms. New York will mature in spirit, in quantity, and in quality only if we can energize and inform our collaborative, inclusive, and cooperative vision.
I have had the opportunity to speak with most of AIANY’s 27 Chapter Committees and am more than gratified with the reception and support they have shown for the “Civic Spirit: Civic Vision” theme. It is gratifying to know that Committee program planning is well underway.
Finally, I have a personal request for us to, please, to all think about and pay homage to the life and contribution of a great man, Nelson Mandela. It would be a wonderful and fitting tribute if we could bring his kindness of spirit to all the wonderful work we are about to undertake.