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September 14, 2020
by Adam Roberts
Blervis via Wikimedia Commons.

Census responses help determine how much funding New York receives for transportation, affordable housing, and other architectural priorities. Many have grown fearful that this census will not depict an accurate counting of the country’s population. Mistrust of the federal government by immigrants, poor return rates from those who left urban areas during COVID, and the president’s order to finish counting a month early have led to low response rates. New York State has been particularly hard hit by the undercounting, which could lead to a loss of congressional representation and federal funding.

As an industry, architecture is heavily impacted by the census. Federal funding determined by census responses is often used for design and construction, with total funding designated by the census for design and construction totaling tens of billions of dollars. Furthermore, state tax distribution for design and construction is also often allocated based on census results.

New York’s congressional representation has a more indirect, but nonetheless major impact, on architecture. Members of Congress (MoCs) help secure funding for state and local agencies that employ architects and architecture firms, such as the MTA and Port Authority. The more MoCs New York loses, the less powerful its voice will be in fighting for these precious federal dollars.

If you have not done so already, fill out your US Census immediately. Census counting efforts will likely halt on September 30, 2020. You can also help encourage others to complete the census using outreach materials from the Census Bureau.

Pulse Points

  • Next Thursday, September 24 from 9:00 am -1:00 pm and Friday, September 25 from 1:00 -5:00 pm is the annual PlanScapeArch Conference, hosted by ASLA-NY, AIANY and APA-NYM. This multi-disciplinary conference seeks to examine how current events have shaped public health, transportation, and technology, and how the allied professions can aid our communities in moving forward at different scales.
  • With the 2020 general election approaching on November 3, 2020, important deadlines are coming up for voters. To register to vote or change your address, you must do so by October 9; absentee ballot requests are due by October 27.

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