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Archive for 'Climate Change'

Post-Sandy, What Have We Learned?

Throughout New York City, Hurricane Sandy dramatically transformed the landscape and destroyed neighborhoods.  Its impact on the way that we think about our city has yet to be determined, but two projects that were proposed before the storm may serve as useful weathervanes. The first project is a proposal to develop approximately 700 units of housing along the Gowanus Canal, Continue Reading>>

Reframing Resilience, with a Livability Lens

As New York City and its hinterland, which includes parts of the states of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, continue to emerge from the worst of three, hundred-year storms to hit this region in three years, could the challenges of creating resilient communities be any more prescient? This week MAS is convening a meeting with urban practitioners from a range of sectors including architecture, planning, local government, industry, environment and the arts, to discuss Continue Reading>>

MAS Seeks Consultant for Green Preservation Manual

Green roof at Cook + Fox OfficesToday MAS released a request for proposals seeking a consultant to prepare a manual tentatively titled Greening New York City’s Landmarks: A Guide for Property Owners. MAS, with the assistance of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), is producing the manual as an educational tool for property owners. Continue Reading>>

From Timbuktu to Coney Island

Sankore Mosque TimbuktuThree prominent keynote speakers, Rochelle Roca Hachem, Emily Wadhams and David Bragdon, will address preservation and sustainability issues from international, national and city perspectives at MAS’ Conference on Preservation and Climate Change in New York City (October 15-17). Continue Reading>>

MAS Applauds NYC’s First “Green” Auction

With the 40th anniversary of Earth Day just around the corner, MAS is supporting New York’s first “green” auction, which will promote awareness about conservation as well as raise funds for four prestigious environmental nonprofit organizations. On April 22, Christie’s will hold The Green Auction: A Bid To Save The Earth, featuring top celebrities, industry leaders, philanthropists and conservationists from around the globe. Funds raised from this silent and live auction will benefit Oceana, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Conservation International, and New York’s own Central Park Conservancy. Continue Reading>>

MAS Calls for Green House Gas Emission Analysis in SEQRA

earth from spaceIn honor of Earth Day, MAS has released a study that details a suggested framework for analyzing climate change, and enables New York State to evaluate and address the potential climate change impact of different actions in land-use, energy and industrial transportation, and other issues. In order to fight climate change, it is critical that we reduce green house gases (GHG). Just last week, the Environmental Protection Agency formally declared six green house gasses to be pollutants that endanger public health and welfare. The MAS study concludes that the state has the ability to require far-reaching environmental review that can substantially advance efforts to reduce GHG. Meaningful environmental review can greatly assist governmental agencies and the public in understanding the climate change consequences of an action, while helping to address the resulting impacts. “Climate change is a global challenge and New Yorkers have the responsibility to aggressively reduce GHG emissions and prepare for the changes in air temperature, sea level, and precipitation, and the massive implications of those changes, to human and natural environments,” said Vin Cipolla, President of the Municipal Art Society. “New York is making great strides to reduce the state’s GHG emissions, but more solutions can and should be pursued to drastically reduce its contribution to global climate change.” Continue Reading>>

Too Close For Comfort: DUMBO Development to Abut the Brooklyn Bridge

brooklyn bridge dumbo buildingThe Municipal Art Society yesterday testified before the City Planning Commission expressing our concern about an 18-story building adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge in DUMBO. While 18 story buildings are not un-common in DUMBO, this site on Dock Street between Water and Front Streets, across the street from the Empire Stores at left (MAP), is exceptional because it abuts the Brooklyn Bridge — a local, state, and national landmark. In fact, a portion of the development site even runs underneath the Bridge’s span. The Brooklyn Bridge is one of New York’s most iconic historic structures, and it is one of only 11 National Historic Landmarks — the highest recognition a building can receive in America — in Brooklyn. As such, it should be protected from large-scale development encroachments. MAS believes that the development proposed for the site will mar iconic views both of the bridge from DUMBO’s streetscapes, and from the bridge of DUMBO, the Manhattan Bridge, and the East River. The development is currently going through the city’s land use review procedure for zoning changes. Continue Reading>>

Growing Greener Cities – Tomorrow Night

growing greener cities pamphletAt tomorrow night’s book program and panel discussion Growing Greener Cities – Urban Sustainability in the 21st Century, Alexander Garvin of Alexander Garvin & Associates, will join book editors Eugenie L. Birch and Susan Wachter, to talk about the urban green movement. The speakers will discuss concrete methods of addressing some of the most challenging issues facing cities today, ranging from public transit and infrastructure improvement, to aquifer protection and urban agriculture. Editors Eugenie L. Birch and Susan Wachter will be available to sign copies of their new book during the reception that follows the program. Growing Greener Cities – Urban Sustainability in the 21st Century, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008. Growing Greener Cities – Urban Sustainability in the 21st Century Tuesday, October 28, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. $12 MAS members/students, $15 non-members. Purchase tickets online or call 212-935-2075.

MillionTreesNYC

million trees nyc illustrationMillionTreesNYC was launched last year by the Parks Department and New York Restoration Project as a PlaNYC initiative.  This citywide, public-private program has an ambitious goal: to plant and care for one million new trees across the City’s five boroughs over the next decade. By planting one million trees, New York City can increase its urban forest by 20%, offering considerable environmental benefits to New Yorkers. The City of New York plans to plant 60% of these trees in parks and other public spaces. The remaining 40% will come from private organizations, homeowners, and community organizations. MAS is one of many non-profit groups that have agreed to help achieve this lofty goal. MAS became involved because of our concern that the average street tree has a ten-year life cycle, and we believe it is as important to keep the million trees alive, as it is to plant them. So we are encouraged by the news that the MillionTreesNYC is seriously addressing the maintenance issue and has already put in place tree stewards at all New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) projects, where a large number of the new trees have been planted. Continue Reading>>

MAS Supports Comprehensive Planning for NYC Waterfront

water taxi river sunsetMAS testified before the City Council’s Committee on Waterfronts yesterday in support of Intro. No. 809, a bill that would require the City Planning Commission to create a comprehensive waterfront plan every ten years. We believe that planning for the waterfront is of great importance to the future of the city, and that engaging communities in the planning process is critical to the success of a waterfront plan. Intro. No. 809 offers an opportunity to balance the diversity of uses on the city’s waterfront and waterways so that our maritime industry prospers, waterfront development is appropriate and based on established priorities, maritime habitats are protected and improved, long term and irreversible environmental harm due to the effects of climate change are mitigated or prevented, and that through increased use of waterborne transportation, our carbon footprint is reduced. Continue Reading>>

Opposition to Willets Point and Task Force on Climage Change Established

gimbels subway signMAS In the Press: MAS weighs in on the City’s fight to remove illegal advertising from billboards (Village Voice).The Village Voice also picks up on part of MAS’ New Penn Station advocacy campaign to reopen the network of pedestrian tunnels underneath and around Penn Station. Issues in the Press: – Another searing letter was sent from several City Council Members to the Planning Commission stating their opposition to the current Willets Point rezoning in anticipation of its public hearing with the Commission today (Crain’s New York Business, New York Sun). The last three major projects of the Bloomberg administration – Willets Point, Hunters Point, and Coney Island – mark a shift toward increased government intervention than earlier projects such as the Far West Side (New York Observer). Continue Reading>>

Imagine Flatbush 2030

flatbush street mural artWhile the federal government has sat on the sidelines, local government has provided true leadership in response to global climate change in the United States. Last year, New York City joined a small but growing list of American municipalities such as Boston, Los Angeles, and Seattle in aligning planning and development goals with ambitions to reduce carbon emissions. Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC2030 was designed to lay the groundwork for achieving and maintaining affordable housing, open space, comprehensive public transportation, and reliable energy, as well as clean air, water, and land. A year has passed and PlaNYC has seen both successes and failures. MAS set about this past year to address what we perceived to be a critical issue that is nonetheless often overlooked: sustainability planning is too important to be left solely to the experts. Continue Reading>>