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Thank you, Ronda Wist

On behalf of the entire Municipal Art Society family, we wish to express our deepest thanks to Ronda Wist for her many years of service to MAS. As Vice President for Preservation and Government Relations, Ronda was instrumental in crafting MAS’ perspective on the role of preservation in our city, and bringing that balanced view to the City Council, City Planning Commission, and Landmarks Preservation Commission. From her earliest days as a student and public member, to her leadership on campaigns to save the garment district, green our historic buildings, and re-envision our public waterfronts, Ronda has contributed to MAS in innumerable ways.

As we look ahead toward next year’s 50th anniversary of the Landmarks Preservation Law, Ronda’s expertise, insight, and dedication to New York’s historic buildings will help us envision this movement’s impact in the next half century. As head of her own consulting firm in preservation, we’re sure Ronda will continue to have a direct impact on important historic preservation issues across the city for years to come.

Thank you, Ronda, from all of us.
margaret-newman-sig
Margaret Newman, Executive Director of the Municipal Art Society of New York

MAS Moves to the Look Building – a New York Landmark

Look BuildingOn September 2, 2014, the Municipal Art Society will be relocating from our current offices in the Steinway Building on 57th Street to 488 Madison Avenue, the landmarked Look Building.

From saving Grand Central to winning passage of New York City’s Landmarks Law, MAS has been a champion for the protection of New York’s significant historic buildings throughout our 120-year history. The Look Building will be a fitting home for MAS, with its esteemed history and status as a New York Landmark, while allowing for a more open, collaborative and modern office environment.

The Villard Houses and Steinway Hall

For almost 30 years MAS was headquartered at the Villard Houses, built in 1886 and designed by architect Stanford White of McKim, Mead & White.

Villard Houses The palazzo-style brownstone building, originally built as six townhouses, was designated as a New York City Landmark in 1968. In 2010, MAS moved to Steinway Hall, home of the piano manufacturing firm Steinway & Sons. Built in 1925 and designed by Warren & Wetmore, Steinway Hall was designated as a New York City Landmark in 2001.

MAS’s New Home

The 21-story Look Building, built in 1950, is exemplary of a minimalist aesthetic popular in architecture at the time. The building is most notable for its use of industrial materials to create sleek, setback elevations with rounded edges and its unique facades of alternating layers of ribbon-like windows and glazed white brick..

Two second-generation, family-run businesses, the developers Uris Brothers and architects Emery Roth & Sons, successfully speculated on the new building’s success. Richard Roth, the lead architect, designed the building to be stylish, profitable and practical. The building’s style suggests that Roth drew inspiration from the 1931 Starrett-Lehigh Building and the 1947 Universal Pictures Building, both in Manhattan. Roth was also influenced by architect Erich Mendelsohn, a German Expressionist.

A Salute to 488 Madison

In 1998, MAS produced an exhibition: “New Life for a Modern Monument: A Salute to 488 Madison Avenue”

The building was named for Look magazine, the principal tenant upon completion. Once one of the most widely-read magazines in the day, Look remained at this location until 1971, when it ceased publication. Other notable past tenants include Esquire, Pocket Books, music publishers Witmark & Sons, and industrial designer Raymond Loewy.

In 1998, the Look Building underwent restoration by architects Hardy Holzman & Pfieffer. MAS organized a exhibition, New Life for a Modern Monument: A Salute to 488 Madison Avenue, which, at the time was just kitty-corner to MAS’s headquarters at 457 Madison Avenue. MAS’s event brochure commended the restoration stating that it “shows how successfully the best postwar buildings can be updated, rewarding investors and delighting passerby.” Ned Kaufman, an associate director of MAS at the time and a leading advocate of the preservation of modern architecture, presciently said the renovation would be ”a very valuable and important model.”

In 2004, the Look Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and was named a New York City Landmark in 2010.

Contacting MAS

Our mailing address is now:
Municipal Art Society
488 Madison Avenue, Suite 1900
New York, NY 10022

Our email addresses, phone and fax numbers remain the same. Call (212) 935-3960 or send an email to info (at) mas.org if you have any questions.

We look forward to welcoming you into our new space!

Congratulating Bob Yaro on 25 Years at RPA

On behalf of the board and staff of the Municipal Art Society of New York, we express our admiration and thanks to Bob Yaro for his years of service to the city as president of the Regional Plan Association. We have been honored to collaborate with RPA on some of the largest infrastructure projects facing New York, from rebuilding Penn Station to addressing post-Sandy resiliency. We have always valued RPA’s perspective as a regional voice in these discussions, and Bob’s invaluable role in helping to shape them. Deeply knowledgeable and ever insightful, Bob has been a tireless caretaker for New York and its surrounding communities for 25 years. Continue Reading>>

Tell the MTA: We Need the Move NY Plan and a New Penn Station

This is a trying time for our region’s transportation. Growing ridership, aging infrastructure, and climate change (seen with Superstorm Sandy’s immense devastation to our subways and tunnels) mean that we can’t continue with business as usual, with not near enough resources to maintain our current system, let alone one that New York needs for its future.

But with these obstacles, we also have opportunities. The MTA Transportation Reinvention Commission was recently formed to address these challenges. With 24 experts in transportation, planning, financing, business, real estate and more, the Commission has the leadership to call for new investment and new ways in thinking about how we move New York City.

What’s more: they’re looking for your help. They’ve opened the call up to the public to provide input. They’re asking: How do we move forward with transportation in New York?

Let’s tell them. We need to adopt the Move NY Plan – the most rational way to raise new revenue. With a $12 billion deficit, the MTA can’t afford to maintain the infrastructure it has, let alone build for our future. Fair tolling is the best way to fix this.

Also, critically, the MTA needs to work with other transit agencies and stakeholders to take action towards a New Penn Station. The current station is overcrowded, unsafe, and unattractive, and its limitations impede future growth in transit service in the city and region. Planning for a new station in tandem with Amtrak’s Gateway Project will ensure that the New York region can meet anticipated future travel demand while creating the city’s next great civic space.

We told the MTA what needs to happen (read our testimony here PDF). Now it’s your turn.

Tell the MTA: we need a fair tolling plan and a new Penn Station.

Remembering Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Gene Norman, Chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, testifying to save St. Bart's Church. Credit: Albany Press, January 1984

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Gene Norman, Chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, testifying to save St. Bart’s Church. Credit: Albany Press, January 1984

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, born July 28, 1929, would have turned 85 today. In 1975, she brought to the Municipal Art Society her commitment to the splendors of New York City — and sparked an unforgettable collaboration for which every New Yorker can be grateful for ever since.

Instrumental in saving Grand Central Terminal, Lever House and St. Bart’s Church, and preventing the intrusion of a shadow stretching from Columbus Circle to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ms. Onassis said at the start of the Municipal Art Society’s fight to save Grand Central: “If we don’t care about our past, we cannot hope for the future.” Today, we honor her. Happy birthday Ms. Onassis!

Re-Imagining the Civic Commons

Mary Rowe Bio Final

Mary Rowe, Director, Urban Resilience and Livability

In the past, cities included in zoning plans and land use guides provision for a variety of common civic spaces and places accessible to the public such as parks, libraries, settlement houses, post offices, community centers, health clinics and hospitals, markets and public schools. These key facilities formed the backbone of any city’s “civic commons”: a network of publicly financed and managed amenities to serve the broader, collective needs of local neighborhoods and to benefit the city as a whole. They provided much-needed public services, but also opportunities to foster neighborhood identities, cultural expression, learning, a sense of belonging, and serendipity and surprise. Throughout history, the civic commons has made the city a city: It’s where we voted, where key decisions were made, we expressed our collective aspirations, and where we went to celebrate, learn, trade, play, and maybe just rest.

But urban life is continually changing, and so too are people’s needs and use of the civic commons. Re-Imagining the Civic Commons is a national inquiry funded by Knight Foundation, managed by the Municipal Art Society of New York, a civil society advocacy organization focused on effective policy and leadership initiatives that foster urban livability and resilience. Our goal is to build a national provocation, and later this year to make the case for a reimagined civic commons which will be so compelling that city leaders will embrace it, and commit to new ways to create, manage and invest in it.

New York Public Library

New York Public Library

We aren’t using the elements of the civic commons the way our parents did. Where do you see the civic commons in your neighborhood, and who is using it? Institutions (churches, settlement houses, community and cultural centers) that traditionally offered opportunities for mutual aid and interaction across differences of class, race and ethnicity seem to be less central to contemporary urban life. Many of us spend a substantial part of our working day commuting – by car, or train, or bus or subway – which not only affects the amount of time we may have to spend taking advantage of the civic commons, but also our disposition towards funding it.

In some cities we see some people opting out of the civic commons: spending more time watching television at home and exercising in their private health club, rather than going to the library or using their local park. As city budgets are pressed, it’s easy to see why governments might opt to reduce service hours, shutter old community centers, sell off community hospitals or local post offices, or abandon costly public spaces.

At the same time, urban dwellers continue to find new ways of sharing and making connections. In your city, what kinds of activities take place in public spaces and places? Attractive public spaces and parks are often full of groups and individuals. Libraries seem to be oversubscribed with people and families participating in every kind of program. Co-working and maker spaces are thriving. So are coffee shops. Digital technologies continue to create a remarkable web of urban interconnectedness – a digital commons –that allow those with Internet access to share a ride, a service, meet up with a group with similar interests, order a book, find an event. What can we learn from successful places and shared experiences that can inform how we design, build and manage the new civic commons?

Working closely with the Municipal Art Society to help curate this process is WXY Studio, an architectural practice led by Claire Weisz whose firm has a special interest in public space and programming. In addition to user research and observation, the project team is consulting extensively with urban practitioners working in cities across the country, including designers, planners, artists, entrepreneurs, as well as the myriad of people who conceive, manage and finance particular elements of the civic commons. This includes targeted sessions with stakeholders in a number of cities including the Knight communities of Charlotte, N.C., and San Jose, Calif., and the cities of Chicago, San Francisco and New York. The team is also working in tandem with a similar initiative in Canada funded by the J.W. McConnell Foundation, exploring the potential uses of public buildings – civic assets – that governments are finding it challenging to continue to maintain and program. The initiative will report out its preliminary findings at the annual MAS Summit for New York City, Oct. 23-24, 2014.

Mary Rowe is director, urban resilience and livability, for The Municipal Art Society of New York, which will help reimagine civic spaces with the support of Knight Foundation.

This post was originally published on Knight Blog: The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

MAS Testifies on One Vanderbilt Draft Scope

Photo: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

Photo: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

Today, MAS testified on the draft scope for One Vanderbilt – a proposed 1,350-foot tower neighboring Grand Central Terminal, one of the most attractive development sites in New York City.

MAS supports One Vanderbilt’s proposed public space improvements, gestures to relate the project to Grand Central with complementary building materials and a design allowing for new views of the Terminal, and the project’s seamless integration with Grand Central’s critical transit infrastructure.

Future development in this corridor needs careful thought. All new development in East Midtown needs infrastructure and public realm investments. We must make sure that the public is getting the best deal possible. There needs to be greater clarity of how $200 milion in public benefits was agreed upon, the relationship between FAR bonuses and the level of public investment required, and greater clarity on the mechanism and timing for these improvements.

We look forward to working with City Planning, elected officials and the community for a thoughtful approach to future development in East Midtown.

Read the full testimony (PDF), given by Kate Slevin, Vice President of Police and Planning.

Read our full written comments (PDF) on the Draft Scope.

Rezoning and Retaining the Garment District

In 2011, in response to the City’s attempt to rezone Manhattan’s Garment District, MAS released a report Fashioning the Future: NYC’s Garment District. In it we highlighted the continued importance of the district, a unique area of the city because, unlike neighborhoods like the Meatpacking District, it remains true to its name, and with over 40% of New York City’s apparel manufacturing businesses, continues to function as a hub for garment production.  The City eventually abandoned its rezoning efforts after being unable to come to an agreement with district stakeholders.

It has been reported recently, that Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen has suggested that she will take on the special district which had been created in 1987 to help prevent the conversion of manufacturing space to office use.  MAS agrees that the Special Garment Center District zoning should be updated, with the understanding that manufacturing uses remain to support the diversity of the district and its relevance as a resource for budding fashion designers.  This  unique district is important for the neighborhood and, even more critical, an important economic driver for the city as the fashion industry generates $2 billion in annual revenue.

Update the zoning

Concentration of Manufacturing Uses in the Garment DistrictThe Special Garment District is divided into preservation areas, which currently preserve about 7.7 million square feet of space in 101 buildings for manufacturing. However, manufacturing uses now take up just over one million square feet, with the remainder of the space either vacant or illegally converted to commercial uses. We believe that consolidating the preservation areas makes a lot of sense as part of a larger economic development plan. Our 2011 report lays out an approach for rezoning the area that would preserve and secure vital manufacturing space and allow complimentary design and wholesale uses, while also encouraging a diverse mix of commercial uses, enabling the neighborhood to become more diverse and lively. To do this we suggest breaking the district down into separate sub-zones – each with distinct features and zoned to encourage specific uses. For example, lifting the protections in the area of the district between Broadway and 7th Avenue to allow commercial uses as-of-right would still allow showroom and manufacturing but would also introduce new class B&C office uses. Read more about these specific zoning recommendations here.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation has taken significant steps to support the industry by establishing valuable partnerships and programs such as the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative (FMI), an initiative enacted with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)— a not-for-profit trade association whose membership consists of America’s foremost fashion designers —to  provide production facilities with grants to acquire advanced technology, equipment and other opportunities.  It is important for the City to continue in this vein and support the ancillary jobs that are critical to the well-being of the city’s fashion industry.  Just as the City decided that retaining amusement rides was important to maintaining Coney Island’s identity, and the theaters were essential to Times Square, we hope that the de Blasio administration will recognize the importance of retaining manufacturing in the Garment District.

Congratulations to the Winners of Rebuild by Design

On Monday, June 2nd, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Senator Charles Schumer, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Governor Chris Christie, Mayor Mauro Raguseo of Little Ferry, NJ, and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced $920 million in funding to six Rebuild by Design teams.

Grantee Region Design Team Funding
New Jersey Meadowlands MIT CAU+ZUS+URBANISTEN $150 M
New Jersey Lower Hudson OMA $230 M
New York Nassau County The Interboro Team $125 M
New York Staten Island SCAPE/Landscape Architecture $60 M
New York City Manhattan The BIG Team $335 M
New York City South Bronx PennDesign/OLIN $20 M

MAS was a lead partner in the Rebuild by Design competition, alongside the Van Alen Institute, the Regional Plan Association and NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge. As the winning projects move into implementation, MAS will continue to support Rebuild by Design and the communities involved through our Community Resilience Trainings and network building activities.

While the implementation of the funded projects will be critical to improving our region’s resilience, the competition’s unique format produced research, design opportunities, and thoughtful project ideas that could be a springboard for future work.

Congratulations again to the winners. We look forward to working with them, and other stakeholders, on improving resiliency in New York City through an ongoing, inclusive dialogue.

Learn more about the winning Rebuild by Design projects in the official HUD press release.

Farragut Monument Restoration

Farragut After 9_21_06013The Municipal Art Society remains dedicated to preserving the Farragut Monument by the esteemed sculptor Augustus Saint- Gaudens, crafted in 1880 and on display at Madison Square Park. In May, MAS teamed with the Madison Square Park Conservancy to repoint the beautiful bluestone base, while the Conservancy repointed and reset the steps.

MAS, through its Adopt-A-Monument program, with a generous grant from the Paul and Klara Porzelt Foundation, worked with the NYC Parks Department and Public Design Commission, to supervise the conservation of this magnificent monument in 2003. MAS has annually maintained the sculpture since, keeping it in pristine condition in the public realm. Thanks to Wilson Conservation for their skilled hands – restoring the statue in 2003 and cleaning and waxing the bronze figure, stone base and exedra each fall.

MAS Resilience Practitioners Join Forces with NYC’s Technology Entrepreneurs

ResilienceRoundtableA community that thrives on disruption, New York City’s Tech Entrepreneurs have a lot of contribute to the resilience scene.  On Thursday, May 15 the Municipal Art Society hosted its Resilience Roundtable at the Urban Future Lab in Brooklyn, bringing together practitioners at the forefront of NYC’s resilience challenges with practitioners leading the charge on technology entrepreneurship, to discuss how we can Engage the Tech Community in Resilience Building.

The main principles held by the tech community – accessibility and openness, diversity, innovation and exchange – provide entrepreneurs in this community with the tools necessary to address a wide range of social, political, and economic challenges in our cities.  With more than 291,000 jobs in the city’s tech ecosystem, it is a growing industry with the capital and resources to make effective change happen.  Those in power at the City level recognize the value of cultivating this industry in New York City.  Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced a $10 million “Tech Talent Pipeline” to train New Yorkers for tech-related jobs.  The New York Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has sponsored the BigApps competition to empower individuals in the tech, design and business industries to build an app, device or data tool that addresses the city’s toughest challenges.  They also initiated a competition specifically focused on identifying and deploying creative new technologies and solutions to make NYC businesses more resilient to the impacts of future storms and the effects of climate change, called RISE:NYC . Even those embedded within the tech community recognize the power they have to impact social change, with organizations such as Significance Labs bringing together ‘technology’s brightest minds’ to design ‘high-impact products for low-income Americans.’

With the plethora of challenges Sandy both highlighted and created, there is a significant need to encourage the tech community to turn their attention towards resilience.  At the roundtable we heard from entrepreneurs working at the forefront to improve the energy industry, facilitate a sharing economy, and provide open and accessible data and information.  Organized in partnership with the Urban Future Lab and NYC Acre, the following innovators shared their web products and services:

A discussion followed around the challenges to our city’s resilience and how new technologies and innovations could address them.  Various themes emerged, including the need to create matchmaking services between entrepreneurs and those in need, providing education and institutional knowledge to improve the capacity to respond to events and create new jobs in the resilience field, and to develop  connective tissue that pulls together community members and diverse professionals to encourage collaboration.

MAS’s Global Network is doing just that.  By connecting innovators working on granular interventions in their communities around the world, we are creating an exchange of ideas and strategies to address the world’s urban challenges.  At MAS, we know that resilience requires an ‘All Hands on Deck’ approach that engages all disciplines and community members in resilience building.  Bearing this in mind, our global network includes artists in Bandung, urban ecologists in NYC, information and communication technology specialist from The Hague, entrepreneurs focusing on the sharing economy in San Francisco, and more.  By bridging connections between disciplines – arts and the economy, the natural and built environment, technology and the public realm – a holistic strategy to addressing urban challenges can be assembled and new innovations emerge.  As New York City continues to address its challenges from Sandy, opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration, including the tech community, are spurring new improvements and advancements to make New York City a model for resilience around the globe.

Congratulations to Raju Mann

Raju MannMAS congratulates Raju Mann on his appointment as New York City Council’s new land use director. As Director of Planning and Policy at MAS, Raju was instrumental in helping shape MAS’s positions on some of New York’s most challenging policy questions. From our work in rethinking the future of East Midtown to our campaign for a new Penn Station, Raju provided thoughtful and effective leadership and vision.

We look forward to working with Raju in his new role, and extend to him our sincerest congratulations.

Community Risk and Resiliency Act

Superstorm Sandy brought a level of disruption that many in our region have never experienced. Vulnerabilities in commercial, residential, transport and utility structures were revealed. Even more importantly, social capital and community cohesion were found to be strong in some areas, but less so in others.

From Sandy, a new awareness of planning for resiliency has started to take hold in the region: architects and, designers and planners have incorporated resilience as they plan, design and develop structures, and community groups have created emergency preparedness trainings and long term recovery planning groups. And, nearly everyone now sees the value of social capital: from knowing your neighbors, to creating networks where members of a community can rely on each other in the face of a disaster.

While these broad undercurrents are changing our thinking, it is critical to look at ways policy and legislation can have a broader impact on the region. MAS has been on the forefront of this thinking. We’ve fought for zoning that seeks to enhance the city’s livability: preserving the qualities that make New York City a vibrant place to live, work and play. When Sandy hit, MAS rapidly responded with a series of multi-stakeholder discussions and launched a monthly roundtable for resilience practitioners. We’ve been a key part of Rebuild by Design, developing innovative solutions to rebuild our region in new, stronger ways. We’re also equipping communities themselves with the capability of building their own resiliency from the ground-up: incorporating resiliency into our Livable Neighborhoods Trainings and delivering Community Resilience Trainings.

nature conservancy largeGrassroots planning works best when coupled with planning on a wider, regional scale. Knowing that, our partner, the Nature Conservancy, is advocating for Community Disaster Risk Reduction legislation. This would require state-funded projects and permits to consider risk analysis data before construction begins. Sea levels are rising – we cannot stop them, as we found out clearly this week with the discovery that Antarctic glaciers are irreversibly collapsing. It’s time to require that all state-permitted and funded development, not just rebuilding efforts after a catastrophic storm, take into account our word’s changing climate. We simply can’t continue building with ‘business as usual’ – we have to plan for the world we’ll have tomorrow. Your voice is critical in making this effort happen. Contact your state Senator and ask them to pass the “Community Risk and Resiliency Act” A. 6558 (Sweeney) / S. 6617 (Savino).

The proposal bill and associated actions of the New York State Assembly are available online here.

MAS Introduces its Global Webinar Series

UN Photo

UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata.

MAS continues to grow its presence in the international field of resilience and livability with its MAS Global Network of urban innovators and practitioners. Through participation in global convenings and events, including a session we hosted with several of our global partners on Speed Dating for City Builders at the World Urban Forum 7 in Medellin Colombia, Executive Director Margaret Newman’s participation in NY-LON series of live video seminars on Tall Buildings with the NLA – the centre for London’s Built environment, and MAS Director of Urban Resilience and Livability Mary Rowe’s UN Habitat lecture on Fostering resilience through community based innovation, our network continues to expand, bringing to MAS new learning partnerships to not only share knowledge and experience from NYC, but also benefit from the lessons of others working in cities around the world. Increasingly urban challenges – including population growth, the need for diverse economic opportunities, affordability, and the threats from climate change – are common to cities around the world, and as solutions are being tried and tested we need global platforms to share innovations in a timely way. The MAS Global Network does just that by connecting practitioners both digitally and face-to-face to share challenges and opportunities, and approaches to addressing them. Through nurturing this exchange, community artists in Bandung are sharing strategies with planners in Lagos, urban ecologists in NYC are providing tips to architects in Irkutsk- innovative approaches created at the granular level that are strengthening cities.

To that end, MAS recently launched its Global Webinar Series, hosting its first Why the World Needs an Urban Sustainable Development Goal earlier this week for over 50 participants from more than 20 cities, including New York City, Edinburgh, Beirut, Seattle, London, and more. The webinar was led by MAS Board Chair Eugenie Birch, with Christine Platt, President of the Commonwealth Association of Planners, Maruxa Cardama, Executive Project Coordinator at Communities, and Cynthia Rosenzweig, Senior Research Scientist at Columbia University, and moderated by MAS’s Mary Rowe, to provide an update of the United Nations Open Working Group (OWG)’s process to decide on a new set of Sustainable Development Goals. Our presenters shared the details of a global campaign to ensure that one of the goals focuses on cities, why this is so critical, and how people around the world must urge their governments to support its adoption. The recording and presentation from the webinar is available here: webinar recording, webinar slide deck. Our recent blog post outlined the importance of this campaign, and encourages MAS members to support it by signing this petition on change.org. Additional resources regarding the adoption of the urban sustainable development goal are listed below.

We are looking forward to hosting monthly webinars from members of the MAS Global Network. To make sure you receive up-to-date notices of future events please send an email to info@mas.org with the subject line “Global.”

Urban SDG resources:

Petition on Change.org

#UrbanSDG Campaign 

UCLG: #UrbanSDG Campaign 

MAS Leadership on Why the World Needs an Urban Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)

Communitas Coalition: Second Draft SDG Proposal

Atlantic Cities: 11 Reasons the UN Should Make Cities the Focus of Its Forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals

The Nature of Cities: Why We Need an Urban Sustainable Development Goal

UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform

Stakeholder Forum Sustainable Development 2015

UN (2011) World Urbanisation Prospects: The 2011 Revision Highlights. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. UN: New York.

Solecki, W., C. Rosenzweig, S. Hammer, and S. Mehrotra, (2012): Urbanization of climate change: Responding to a new global challenge, in UN (2011) The Urban Transformation: Health, Shelter and Climate Change. E. Sclar, N. Volavka-Close, and P. Brown, Eds. Routledge, 197-220. 

NASA (2013) Rapid Urbanisation: Time-Lapse. The Visual Everything.

SDSN (2013a) An Action Agenda for Sustainable Development, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network: New York. 

SDSN (2013d) Why the world needs an urban sustainable development goal, Briefing. UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network: New York.

SDSN (2013e) The Urban Opportunity: Enabling Transformative and Sustainable Development. Briefing for the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on Post-2015. UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network: New York. 

SDSN (2014) Indicators for Sustainable Development- Draft for Consultation, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network: New York. 

MAS Applauds the New York Public Library

New_York_Public_Library_Exterior_PeopleMAS applauds the decision by the NYPL to halt its plans to turn the stacks of the Steven A. Schwarzman Building into a lending library. The plans, which would have changed the nature of research that now occurs within the building also included the closing and sale of the Science, Industry and Business Library and Mid-Manhattan branch library. MAS believes that this is a great moment for the city; the new mayoral administration is working closely with the NYPL leadership to ensure the best service for the public: readers, students, scholars and everyone who loves the building.

The glorious Fifth Avenue building is one of the most important and beloved landmarks in the city. Designed by architects Carrere and Hastings and opened to the public in 1912, the Library was designated a NYC landmark in 1967 and several portions of the interior were designated in 1974. Any changes to the exterior or designated interiors must be approved by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. And submitting testimony to the LPC for the 2013 version of the project was MAS’s only official way to comment. Despite the lack of a public process, many groups, individuals, writers and politicians continued to speak out about the library’s plans. As MAS said in our Ideas for New York’s New Leadership, “…New Yorkers deserve an ongoing transparent planning process that clearly reveals the long-term benefits and detriments of selling off public assets…” NYPL’s ability to listen to an engaged public sets the right tone for the coming years.