Talking Candidly with the City Council: Senior Housing and Waste Management

During a particularly frantic budget period, the New York City Council Committee on Aging asked city agencies and the public: “How can the city expand and preserve affordable housing options for seniors?” The 06.18.14 oversight hearing also addressed Intro. 337, a local law to create a senior housing task force. Providing adequate affordable housing for New York City’s growing senior population requires the coordination of a diverse set of agencies, including the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA), both represented at the hearing. Continue reading “Talking Candidly with the City Council: Senior Housing and Waste Management”

Unlocking Potential: Libraries as Hosts for Universal Pre-Kindergarten

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced his initiative to provide free, universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) for all eligible children in NYC. To make enough seats available, the city must engage more community-based organizations. Branch libraries have been identified as ideal locations for UPK because of the existing programmatic synergies. On 06.12.14, AIANY hosted “Uncovering Synergies: A Design Charrette,” organized by AIANY and the NYC Department of Design + Construction (DDC), and sponsored by the AIANY Committee on Architecture for Education. The charrette explored how seven library branches in five boroughs can accommodate UPK by fulfilling the city’s varied requirements. This interdisciplinary exercise brought together representatives from the Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Public Library, relevant city agencies, non-profit organizations, and architects. Continue reading “Unlocking Potential: Libraries as Hosts for Universal Pre-Kindergarten”

Construction Codes to Match Our Concerns

As the City introduces new policies and initiatives, AIANY wants to ensure that the public is properly informed and prepared. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) and the NYC City Council implemented a series of revisions to building codes and local laws to reflect the need for resilient building techniques in New York City. The package of new legislation would collectively be known as the 2014 NYC Construction Codes. On 05.21.14, Keith Wen, RA, technical advisor to the DOB Office of the Commissioner, presented the new information to a packed crowd at the Center for Architecture. If you missed this important session, you can view it online here. Continue reading “Construction Codes to Match Our Concerns”

Fit and Engaged

AIANY is continuing its work with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on FitCity 9 on 05.19.14. The ninth annual conference at The New School University Center, 63 Fifth Avenue, will explore the alignment of Active Design with the priorities of the new mayoral administration, including the creation of affordable housing that promotes resident and community well-being and the safe and equitable access to active transportation and transit. A full program and list of speakers can be found here. FitCity 9 is free and open to the public.

FitCity 9 will continue on 05.20.14 at the Center for Architecture from 9:00AM to 12:00PM. The second day of workshops will give participants the opportunity to discuss issues raised on the first day, including how to make urban planning in New York City accessible. Please RSVP here. Continue reading “Fit and Engaged”

Lobby from Albany; Learning from Piers

AIA New York State 2014 Albany Lobby Day took place on 04.29.14. With a series of important issues to press, an enthusiastic delegation from AIANY took to the Capitol.

All of our meetings were informative and productive, but our meeting with Assemblymember Deborah Glick was particularly significant because she is chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, the committee currently considering passage of the Good Samaritan Act. This legislation would provide protections for architects who volunteer necessary services to the public during disasters and emergencies, as determined by the governor. Following Superstorm Sandy, the need for this legislation was made very apparent when willing architects hesitated to respond without proper protections. This bill needs a final push to get it through the Assembly Higher Education Committee. Continue reading “Lobby from Albany; Learning from Piers”

A Sustainable and Resilient Plan for de Blasio’s Next 100 Days + Iowa Passes Good Samaritan Bill

On Thursday, 04.10.14, the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) held a demonstration on the steps of City Hall calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio, on his 100th day in office, to focus on sustainability and resiliency efforts in his next 100 days. The press conference announced three suggested steps that, if implemented, will better prepare New York City for future climate change and weather-related events. NYLCV President Marcia Bystryn gave the opening remarks and outlined the three milestones that emphasize long-term planning in a post-Sandy New York City:

  • The de Blasio Administration has set 05.01.14 as the deadline to announce its plan to add and preserve 200,000 affordable housing units. These units should be built sustainably and resiliently. They should also include access to transit and parks.
  • The official start of the next hurricane season is 06.01.14. The mayor should initiate a comprehensive plan to ensure that New York is prepared for the next storm and the changing climate.
  • The deadline for a finalized city budget is 06.30.14. Sustainability and resiliency planning must be included in the capital plan, in addition to vital infrastructure repairs. Continue reading “A Sustainable and Resilient Plan for de Blasio’s Next 100 Days + Iowa Passes Good Samaritan Bill”

Hail and Farewell, Commissioner: Sustainable Streets, Six Years and Counting

With a hearty salute to her staff (by name), a 200-page barrage of triumphal data assembled in one last publication, a lively conversation among current and outgoing City Council members about the momentum of her achievements, and at least some members of the audience implicitly recalling the wistful hook from an old single by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs – “Stay (Just a Little Bit Longer)” – Janette Sadik-Khan sang her final aria to a Center for Architecture crowd as Transportation Commissioner. Continue reading “Hail and Farewell, Commissioner: Sustainable Streets, Six Years and Counting”