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December 3, 2014
by EmmaPattiz
On 11.20.14, the NYC Department of City Planning organized a panel discussion on retrofitting urban buildings for flood risk.Credit: Emma Pattiz

Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged to make New York a more equitable city through a series of significant socially-minded programs for NYC’s residents and industries, including universal pre-K expansion, carbon emission reduction, affordable housing development, and transportation upgrades. AIANY supports these efforts, and knows that in every aspect of the public realm, equity cannot be accomplished without design in mind.

On 12.01.14, AIANY President Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, AIANY President-elect Tomas Rossant, AIA, and AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, met with Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen. In addition to discussing the mayor’s primary initiatives and how AIANY can help complete them, Glen had questions for the AIANY community that directly relate to the work she is doing with the mayor and city agency heads. She is laser focused on finding ways for NYC to build and live more efficiently.

In light of recent media attention, Glen was particularly interested in whether modular construction can be the future of faster and cheaper design and construction projects. If so, the city could employ the modular method to achieve its affordable housing goals. For modular construction to be a viable option for NYC, it has to accommodate a density not common among its precedents in other U.S. cities and abroad. If it is not the solution, Glen is open to other suggestions. This rich and timely topic deserves an in-depth discussion with input from a diverse cross-section of the industry from both national and international perspectives. More information about opportunities to participate in follow-up conversations and public programs on this subject to come.

Pulse Points

  • Mayor de Blasio will announce the creation of the Office of Sustainability, combining the Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability and the Office of Environmental Coordination. Nilda Mesa will be the Director of the newly formed department. The Mayor’s appointment shows a commitment to the One City, Built to Last: Transforming New York City’s Buildings for A Low-Carbon Future plan announced in September. In addition to improving efficiency of public buildings, the City will offer incentives to persuade private building owners to do the same. Mesa has noted that if incentives failed, the City could work to make updates mandatory.
  • Empire State Development released RFPs for the purchase of two properties in upstate New York – one for the former Beacon Correctional Facility in Dutchess County, and the second for the former Chateaugay Correctional Facility in Franklin County. Read more about them here.
  • On 11.17.14, AIANY submitted testimony at the first City Council oversight hearing on the mayor’s affordable housing plan, “Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Plan.” Read the testimony here.
  • At the 11.18.14 NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing, AIANY submitted testimony in favor of the proposed 108 Leonard project by Beyer Blinder Belle. Read the testimony here.
  • On 11.18.14, the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) announced the start of the public review process for proposed text amendments to the Zoning Resolution that would exempt additional emergency stairwells from floor area calculations in new, non-residential buildings with a minimum height of 420 feet. Last year, City Council adopted Local Law 141, which added additional exit stairway requirements to the NYC Building Code, but current zoning regulations count stairwells in a building’s floor area. Local Law 141 will not take effect until the Zoning Resolution is changed. Read the press release here.
  • On 11.19.14, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the New York City Council announced a comprehensive platform for reinvigorating NYC’s industrial and manufacturing sectors. Read the entire document here.
  • AIANY President Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, and AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, along with peers from AIA Queens, AIA Brooklyn, and AIA Staten Island, met with NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) Commissioner Rick Chandler on 11.19.14. The group primarily discussed DOB’s 10-year capital plan, collaborative review, and zoning protocol.
  • On 11.20.14, the NYC Department of City Planning presented its second program at the Center for Architecture in conjunction with the related Retrofitting Buildings for Flood Risk report, released on 10.08.14.
  • The New York City Council voted to approve the affordable housing project at Astoria Cove on 11.25.14. Read the press release here.
  • On 11.25.14, representatives from AIANY and the AIANY Committee on the Environment met with Randy Croxton, FAIA, LEED AP, to discuss the Mayor de Blasio’s “80 by 50” plan, for which Croxton advised. Following the lead of Architecture 2030 Founder and CEO Edward Mazria, AIA, AIANY will continue efforts to inform the profession about recent energy code changes and green financing options, while also lobbying policy makers to advance legislation in line with the mayor’s goals.
  • With the onset of winter weather, New Yorkers across the state have to prepare their properties for risk. NYC Office of Emergency Management’s Reduce Your Risk and NYC’s Risk Landscape are guides to protecting property from a variety of hazards.
  • Share the issues and policies about which you think the AIA should focus for its advocacy efforts by taking AIA National’s 2015 Call for Issues survey by 12.05.14.
  • City & State is accepting nominations for the 2015 Above & Beyond Awards honoring women who make contributions to society and show leadership in their fields. Submit nominations here.
  • On 12.02.14, NYC announced that it is creating a list of minority- and women-owned businesses to take on new affordable housing development projects. Read more here.

Emma Pattiz is the AIANY Policy Coordinator. For more information on AIANY policy initiatives and programs, please contact her at


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