MAS & Partners Call for Public Realm Meeting with Deputy Mayors Joshi & Torres-Springer

Letter to Deputy Mayors Joshi and Torres-Springer

April 21, 2022

Ms. Meera Joshi and Ms. Maria Torres-Springer
Deputy Mayor for Operations and Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development
250 Broadway
New York, NY 10007

Re: Meeting Invitation for April 29th, 2022 from AIA NY, MAS, and Open Plans

Dear Deputy Mayors Joshi and Torres-Springer,

We, the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, the Municipal Art Society, and Open Plans are writing to you representing a group of over 30 organizations that steward and advocate for New York City’s public spaces. We are energized to work with you and this administration to continue to improve how we collectively deliver a safe, healthy, and accessible public realm that works for all New Yorkers.

We invite you to meet with our group at our standing meeting on Friday, April 29th at noon for a conversation about ways we can work together to achieve our shared goals. If that does not work, we would love to schedule a time to meet with you by the end of May.

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The jumble of key agencies and entities that oversee elements of the public realm. Rendering: MAS

The pandemic has demonstrated how vital our public realm is to New Yorkers and we are elated to see the administration embrace this as a critical element of its Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery. Our streets, sidewalks, parks, waterfronts, and other public spaces are instrumental to the success of our shared recovery—from businesses and tourism to helping the city meet climate change and sustainability goals to providing all communities access to safe and joyful space, and much more.

Our group envisions a public realm that celebrates city life. Our public realm is critical to keeping people safe, connected, and healthy. It reinforces the vitality of our communities and supports local businesses. We believe a commitment to equitable investment and policy will help eliminate disparities across neighborhoods.

We know you are instrumental in making this vision a reality in your respective positions. We believe that to fully meet the moment there is a need to evaluate existing processes, structures, and ways of working. We see the new administration facilitating this vision by:

  • Increasing the budget for parks, public spaces, and natural areas and funding the New York City Streets Plan;
  • Naming and empowering a central, accountable leader for the public realm; and
  • Creating an Office of Public Space Management to manage our streets and sidewalks equitably.

Again, we would be thrilled to meet with you on Friday, April 29th to share more ideas and to work together to deliver a stronger public realm. We are happy to provide an agenda and Zoom link.

We look forward to working with you and your team to ensure all New Yorkers have access to safe, healthy, and joyful public spaces.

Sincerely,

American Institute of Architects New York, Ben Prosky, Executive Director
Municipal Art Society, Elizabeth Goldstein, President
Open Plans, Jackson Chabot, Director of Public Space Advocacy

Signatories:

34th Avenue Open Streets Coalition
ASLA NY
Design Trust for Public Space
Ifeoma Ebo
Marvel Architects
Natural Areas Conservancy
New Yorkers for Parks
Project for Public Spaces
PlacemakingX
PlacemakingUS
Rise and Resist Elevator Action Group
Street Lab
Streets Pac
Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center
Tim Tompkins
Transportation Alternatives
Trust for Public Land
Urban Design Forum
Waterfront Alliance

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