Last week, the American Institute for Architects New York (AIANY) released an open letter to its members in response to President Trump’s new administrative policies — federal strategies that it says may “challenge the values that underpin the practices that our profession seeks to protect.”
Published by AIANY President David Piscuskas and Executive Director Benjamin Prosky on Friday, Feb. 3, the letter opens by reiterating the organization’s continuing commitment to support advocacy initiatives for architectural and urban planning issues that affect every person in New York City and across the United States.
AIA New York Chapter is the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects; image via AIANY
Read the full letter here:
“Dear AIA New York members and colleagues,
The leadership of AIA New York wishes to reaffirm to our membership and extended community our fundamental commitment to providing shelter and protecting the health, safety, and welfare of all people. Civil dialogue, reciprocal respect, and the protection of human rights are essential to our activities and are vital characteristics of the profession. We believe in inalienable rights, regardless of creed or nation of origin, gender or sexual orientation, language or skin color.
These values underpin the practice of our profession. We believe in equity in design and its benefits to all, and we embrace inclusivity and the diversity of both society and our profession. Architecture is a civic art that seeks cultural and societal benefit for people across all demographic constituencies. By extension, we support and are aligned with initiatives that endow and strengthen education and the arts.
We will continue to espouse fair and ethical business practices throughout the building industry. We remain committed to mitigating climate change and protecting New Yorkers from its unavoidable consequences, advocating for evidence-based best practices in energy conservation and resilient and sustainable high-performance building design.
We anticipate that under the new president’s administration, policies may and in certain instances will, challenge the values that underpin practices that our profession seeks to protect. Following the election, our Board of Directors issued a call to members for suggestions of how this organization can best respond to the challenges we face as a community. The overwhelming response from AIANY’s January 5th Community Forum event and new Member Voices account (firstname.lastname@example.org) advised our organization to look inward and create foundational tools we can rely on and refer back to as critical issues arise.
To this end, AIA New York has drafted position statements on various aspects of the built and natural environment directly impacted by federal agencies and policies. These statements have been developed in collaboration with AIANY’s Housing Committee, Education Committee, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Committee on the Environment. As issues come to the fore, these statements will guide how we develop our advocacy initiatives as well as how we engage with AIANY members.
We are first and foremost a membership organization, and our members are our strength. We look forward to hearing your voices and working closely with you on issues of urgency to the profession.”
The four aforementioned position statements specify the principles that will continue to guide the AIANY in working through issues on housing, transportation and infrastructure, sustainability and the environment as well as education.
Via Wikipedia (Phillipp Henzler)
The AIANY’s letter constitutes a more combative and action-oriented response to the Trump administration than the statement issued by the national branch of the AIA on Nov. 10, in which CEO Robert Ivy mainly spoke of the group’s commitment to working alongside President Trump and Congress to address the nation’s aging infrastructure. Having been met with widespread criticism for releasing such a blanket statement, Ivy later later released a video apology.
Top image via Wikipedia (Hromoslov)