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September 16, 2015
by EmmaPattiz
Speakers at "Equity and Urban Development" discussed whether public-private projects are the new recipe for design excellence and city-wide equity.Credit: Center for Architecture
Speakers at "Equity and Urban Development" discussed whether public-private projects are the new recipe for design excellence and city-wide equity.Credit: Center for Architecture

AIANY collaborated with the Public Design Commission of the City of New York on the second event in a series of panels discussing the role of design in bringing equity to the public realm. On 09.16.15, “Equity and Urban Development” brought together architects, developers, and representatives of city government and non-profit organizations who share a common vision.

NYC is experiencing a noticeable boom in well-designed, mixed-use developments. These projects, often situated on challenging sites previously considered unbuildable, also have significant public value. Some provide schools, parks, or libraries to communities that need them. Others include affordable housing units. Panelists discussed whether this type of public-private project is the new recipe for design excellence and equity city-wide.

The role of good design in developer-led projects, and new developer-architect partnerships that have evolved to accomplish model projects was discussed by Carolee Fink, Chief Development Officer, NYC Economic Development Corporation; Navid Maqami, AIA, Principal, S9 Architecture; Jonathan Marvel, FAIA, Principal, Marvel Architects; Regina Myer, President, Brooklyn Bridge Park; Paul Travis, Managing Partner, Washington Square Partners; and moderator Faith Rose, AIA, Executive Director, Public Design Commission. The speakers advocated for how the city will ultimately benefit from these projects even though their approach can be contentious. Public amenities increase jobs and improve neighborhood conditions, but they also help to mitigate the impacts of development and gain support during approval processes. Better projects, however, involve lengthy community engagement processes to inform the RFPs and the ultimate designs.

To achieve the city’s affordable housing, education, and social services goals in a timely manner and under good design principles, all sectors of NYC development must embrace this process. The City is taking advantage of the private market by recognizing its value and working with outsiders to achieve it.

Pulse Points

  • On 09.09.15, on behalf of all five AIA chapters in NYC, David Burney, FAIA, testified at the City Council Committee on Land Use’s hearing on Intro. 775. Read the testimony here.
  • The de Blasio Administration expressed interest in resurrecting the long-defunct Bloomberg-era bill to promote stairways in new buildings and those undergoing major renovations by requiring property owners to provide access to at least one clearly identified stairwell. The measure has been included in the OneNYC plan. Read more here.
  • On 09.15.15, the five AIA chapters in NYC met with the Rick Chandler, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Buildings. The conversation focused on DOB’s recent plans to improve and update the agency and suggestions for how we can help the city achieve those goals.

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