Fight for Light Campaign Releases New Policy Brief

"A Framework for a City Built for Sunlight"

May 18, 2021

The Municipal Art Society released a new policy brief, A Framework for a City Built for Sunlight, the latest publication under the Fight for Light campaign, an initiative founded by MAS in 2018 in partnership with New Yorkers for Parks. The brief prioritizes policy approaches for New York City and advances analysis on social vulnerability and sunlight availability as first recommended in the group’s 2019 report, Bright Ideas.

In developing this analysis, MAS worked with the Environmental Performance and Urban Interface teams at the global architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox to examine existing sunlight availability in case study neighborhoods across the five boroughs. MAS also conducted a citywide social vulnerability assessment to identify populations for whom protecting sunlight in the public realm is particularly crucial. The Framework lays out two immediate courses of action to be undertaken by the City. First, it must lead by example through robust building and public realm design guidelines. Second, it must better shape development by improving the environmental review process and regulating for performance.

“From public health to climate mitigation, sunlight is essential to our city infrastructure. We deserve a public policy and political leadership that safeguards this resource for all New Yorkers,” said Elizabeth Goldstein, President of MAS. “With this brief, A Framework for a City Built for Sunlight, we have laid out immediate steps that New York City can take to tackle this issue head on.”

“As this last year has shown, New Yorkers rely on our parks and open spaces more than any other American city… and we don’t have enough of these spaces,” said Adam Ganser, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks. “Along with our push for a Director of the Public Realm, this framework starts a constructive conversation with lawmakers, governing agencies, designers, and the development community to ensure that the future of New York is one that is equitable, healthy, and resilient.”

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Meaghan Baron