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.

On 04.28.14, the New York City Council Committee on Consumer Affairs held a hearing on Introductory Bill 265, a local law to amend the city’s administrative code in relation to consumer protections and home repair work. The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) oversees consumer issues, so it is responsible for monitoring reported complaints in this area. The City Council Committee on Consumer Affairs, however, finds that DCA has not been thoroughly investigating such complaints. Int. 265 would clarify that DCA enforces regulations against plumbers, electricians, architects, professional engineers, and other contractors who have been reported as fraudulent, and would also require DCA to refer a complaint to DOB when the contractor in question is licensed by DOB.

AIANY attended the first hearing before the Committee on Consumer Affairs on Int. 265 to voice concerns about the bill. AIANY believes that such a bill would create an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy for architects who already report to DOB and the New York State Department of Education. There are already several agencies with the skill set and capacity to investigate complaints specific to architects. We ask that architects be removed from the language of the bill.

On 05.06.14 a small group from AIANY met with Council Member Alan Maisel, who is sponsoring the bill. We discussed with him how architects are not the primary issue. He learned a bit more about the tight regulations to which architects are already subject, and he was receptive to working together to find a better solution.

This week, we also met with the offices of Council Member Gentile and Council Member Espinal, chair of the Consumer Affairs Committee. Both conversations were productive, and we are going to continue to watch the bill. We will also be in touch with DCA and DOB.

At the state level, the Good Samaritan Act (S.3942-A/A.4380-B) is working its way through the New York State Senate this week. Passage of this legislation will allow AIA members around the state to help their communities after disasters without liability concerns. Show your support by clicking here to send an e-mail to your state legislators asking them to pass the Good Samaritan Act.

Emma Pattiz is Policy Coordinator at AIANY,