Honors and Awards Luncheon 2014: Design Matters

“If you’re ever going to get an award from the AIA New York Chapter, this was the year to do it.” No one can deny the truth spoken by honoree David Burney, FAIA, winner of the Chapter’s Award of Merit, in extolling this year’s impressive line-up for the Honors and Awards Luncheon, which included Metropolis Magazine Editor-in-Chief and publisher Susan Szenasy, Hon. AIANY, winner of the Stephen A. Kliment Oculus Award; Medal of Honor honorees Denise Scott Brown, RIBA, Int. FRIBA, and Robert Venturi, FAIA, Int. FRIBA; and a special keynote from Shaun Donovan, Hon. AIANY, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Continue reading “Honors and Awards Luncheon 2014: Design Matters”

Henk Ovink: A Dutch Resiliency Perspective

On Earth Day, 4.22.14, AIANY and the AIANY Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee (DfRR) hosted Henk Ovink, former Acting Director-General of Spatial Planning and Water Affairs for the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and current senior advisor to U.S. Housing and Urban Design Secretary Shaun Donovan, Hon. AIANY. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Ovink emerged as a central figure in shaping the future of the entire region affected by the storm by leading the HUD Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Taskforce. As a nation, the Netherlands has formally addressed issues of flood prevention and protection for more than 900 years. Through Water Boards, a system of regional water authorities introduced in the 13th century, formerly separated communities have worked together to address regionalized environmental issues associated with water management. Today, nearly 300 Water Boards actively continue their ancestors’ work by crafting collaborative strategies for water management and extreme weather adaptation throughout the Netherlands. While “resilient” design strategies have become increasingly significant in the wake of Sandy, Ovink has leveraged his experience to introduce a new era of holistic and collaborative responses to extreme water events intensified by climate change. Continue reading “Henk Ovink: A Dutch Resiliency Perspective”

Journey to Medellín: WUF7

Conversations with Dr. Joan Clos, the executive director of the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat), started and ended my visit to Medellín. I was presenting at the World Urban Forum 7 (WUF) with the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization (CSU), an emerging non-governmental organization (NGO) that was formalized in 2008. CSU is co-chaired by James McCullar, FAIA, past AIANY president, and Aliye Celik; other board members include Margaret Castillo, FAIA, past AIANY president, and myself. The CSU partners with and is sponsored by the AIANY, NJIT, and CCNY/CUNY, among others. Detailed information can be found on its website at www.consortiumforsustainableurbanization.org, and information on the UN Habitat World Urban Forum can be found at wuf7.unhabitat.org.

”With sessions held every two years, the World Urban Forum examines rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies, and policies. This year’s session of the Forum, with the theme ‘Urban Equity in Development – Cities for Life,’ drew more than 22,000 participants from more than 140 countries representing governments, UN agencies, NGOs, urban professionals, local authorities, and academics. The WUF, convened by UN-Habitat, is a non-legislative technical forum.” So starts the UN Summary of the WUF7 event. In large part, the activities were in service of formulating the agenda for HABITAT III, to be held in 2016, when the previous agenda from the last Habitat meeting in Istanbul 20 years ago will be assessed, and new goals will be set for our common global future. Continue reading “Journey to Medellín: WUF7”

New York City Resiliency: Explorations of an Emerging Design Paradigm

On 10.21.14, an interdisciplinary panel representing both the public and private sectors within the design community met to discuss the significance of resiliency in contemporary planning and design. Co-sponsored by the AIANY Design for Risk and Reconstruction (DfRR) and the AIANY Marketing and Communications Committees, “The 21st-Century Practice: Marketing Resiliency Planning and Design” ambitiously attempted to define an ethos which has quickly become one of New York’s central design and planning considerations. The panelists approached the concept of resiliency from a distinctly multidisciplinary focus. Focusing particularly on a New York point perspective, moderator John Fontillas, AIA, LEED AP, a partner at H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, sought to explore the concept of resiliency in the context of “the art of the possible.” Continue reading “New York City Resiliency: Explorations of an Emerging Design Paradigm”