Press Releases

May 28, 2013

AIANY Steps Into Public Policy Arena With Platform for the Future of the City

For immediate release
Press contacts:
Suzanne Offen, 212.889.0808,
Daniel Fox, 212.358.6114,


Growing impact of built environment on daily life
thrusts 156-year-old organization onto policy stage

Read the entire AIANY Platform here.

New York City, May 28, 2013 – With greater evidence on how the built environment impacts our lives, the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) has intensified its efforts to shape public policy. Long known for playing an advisory role to Mayoral administrations, agencies and the City Council, the organization is becoming more vocal. AIANY's major current effort is a 30-point "Platform for the Future of the City" to be considered by candidates running for office in New York this year.

"For our city to maintain its global competitiveness in attracting and retaining talent and business opportunities, elected leaders must envision the shape of the 21st-century metropolis. Quality design of buildings and the public spaces between them increase property values and propels the desire to be here," said Jill N. Lerner, 2013 AIANY chapter president. “New York City needs the values, principles, practical knowledge, and professional expertise of the architect.”

Developed with the specialized knowledge of AIANY’s program committees, “A Platform for the Future of the City” addresses issues at four scales – our buildings, our neighborhoods, our city and our world. The platform identifies the 30 most pressing challenges facing New York’s built environment ranging from streamlining city government approvals and creating affordable housing for an ever growing population to maintaining global competiveness and promoting design internationally as we grow business at home. Some specific policy solutions proposed include creating a new Deputy Mayor post, building at least 100,000 units of housing, utilizing zoning and incentives to continue tech sector growth, promoting active design and making simple changes to support an aging population. Some of the key recommendations are:

Our Buildings
• Create the position of Deputy Mayor of Design & Planning to coordinate municipal agencies toward a goal of greater efficiency.
• Make the NYC Development HUB – which has generated more than a billion dollars in economic activity – permanent.
• Set a goal for at least 100,000 units of housing in the next ten years.
• Reduce parking minimums in new buildings to produce more housing units.
• Build new schools using quality design standards, and fund and retrofit existing schools to make better use of space.
• Utilize zoning and incentives to encourage continued growth of the technology sector and related education.

Our Neighborhoods
• Identify undeveloped areas along rail lines for new development projects.
• Complete partially-funded infrastructure-expansion projects, and commit funds to upgrade new transit systems.
• Create more open space in the communities with the greatest need.
• Encourage well-designed commercial districts that promote mixed-use growth.
• Implement the Vision 2020 Waterfront Plan.

Our City
• Make a series of simple improvements to the urban environment to support an aging population and help seniors to age in place.
• Extend the use of Active Design Guidelines to encourage physical activity to improve the health of New Yorkers.
• Elevate the Office of Long Term Planning & Sustainability Director to that of a Commissioner position to ensure that sustainability remains a top priority.
• Require all new buildings to be built with new risk adverse zoning and construction standards.
• Prioritize passing the remaining Green Codes Task Force Recommendations.

Our World
• Lobby the Federal government to create legislation that would allow international architecture students and architects to come and stay in the United States and practice.
• Encourage and foster innovation and design excellence in all buildings.

"There is greater evidence now, more than ever before, that architecture and design play a significant role in the everyday life of all New Yorkers – from where and how we live and work, to the way we enjoy free time, teach our children, care for the elderly, and get around town. Our goal is to assert that design matters and that architectural excellence can positively transform lives,” said Rick Bell, AIANY executive director. “Using ‘A Platform for the Future of the City’ as a blueprint, we seek to engage civic and government leaders, along with the public, in a dialogue about making our neighborhoods and buildings models for the nation and the world.”

The Center for Architecture brings “A Platform for the Future of the City” to life and encourages public discussion as part of an exhibition running from May 11 to June 29. Titled “Future of the City”—presented in correlation to NYCxDESIGN, the city’s design week-- this exhibition documents AIANY’s thinking on issues facing New York’s built environment by demonstrating architects’ values, expertise, and practical knowledge.

"A Platform for the Future of the City" can be viewed here.

About the AIA New York Chapter
Founded in 1857, AIA New York is the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects, with almost 5,000 architects, allied professionals, students and public members. AIANY is dedicated to three goals: design excellence, public outreach and professional development, and towards these aims, AIANY runs the Center for Architecture, a storefront exhibition space in Greenwich Village, sponsors public programs, publishes a magazine, and works with its charitable affiliate, the Center for Architecture Foundation, to provide scholarship and educational opportunities. For more information on AIANY, please visit

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