A series of court decisions regarding gerrymandered legislative districts created by the New York State Legislature led to a split primary cycle this year. Primaries for the New York State Assembly and for governor occurred on June 28, while the primaries for the State Senate and Congress are coming up on August 23. Many of these races are heavily focused on architectural issues.
Some of the most critical issues in the State Senate races center on housing. In particular, candidates are very divided on removing exclusionary zoning laws and capping rent increases (known as Good Cause Eviction). The real estate and construction industries fought hard to support Governor Hochul’s proposals to remove exclusionary zoning laws earlier this year, even though those policies were not enacted. However, they did temporarily stop the passage of Good Cause Eviction, which would have effectively capped rent increases at three percent per year.
As the US House has less direct control over land use than the city or state, built environment issues are less prominent in these races. However, the race for District 10 has come to center around architectural issues. While most candidates oppose two major projects—housing at 5 World Trade Center and the East Side Coastal Resiliency project—Council Member Carlina Rivera has proudly supported them.
Real estate donors and construction unions have been particularly focused on supporting a handful of candidates. Some of the most notable candidates receiving real estate and construction industry support include former Council Member Elizabeth Crowley for State Senate and Carlina Rivera for Congress. For the most part, these and other industry-backed candidates are up against farther-left opponents who are resistant to new construction and development.
AIA New York and AIA Brooklyn have partnered to highly rate candidates in a few key senate races to give our members a better understanding of who supports architectural issues. These candidates include Iwen Chu in District 17 (South Brooklyn), Brad Hoylman in District 47 (West Side of Manhattan), and Elizabeth Crowley in District 59 (East Side Manhattan, Western Brooklyn, and Queens). We strongly encourage our members to vote on August 23.