GUIDELINES FOR REVIEWING AND RESPONDING TO POLICY AND ADVOCACY ISSUES

ASLA-NY seeks to raise awareness of the field of landscape architecture and support policies which are aligned with values promoted by ASLA, including good stewardship of the environment, healthy communities, recognition and conservation of historic cultural heritage, greener transportation corridors, and effective, energy and cost-efficient landscape design.  We are looking for better, more effective ways to bring our voice to the forefront.

Members are invited to alert the ASLA-NY Advocacy Committee of issues of relevance to the practice, advocacy and public awareness of landscape architecture in NY State. To facilitate the committee understanding the issue, forming an opinion and making a decision to create an ASLA-NY Position Paper, members are requested to provide, whenever possible, a basic outline of the issue and links to current objective information 3 weeks before any public hearing or deadline for filing a statement. The committee will then discuss the relevance to landscape architecture and ASLA-NY’s mission, whether we have enough information/insight into the topic to be credible, and what we think our response should be. If the committee agrees to take on the topic, it will write a draft position paper which is presented to the full board, along with the background information, and the board votes whether to proceed and make it a public statement or not. If the vote is yes, the paper is finalized, sent to the relevant decision makers, and posted on our website.

A description of the committee may be found here. Any interested member is welcome to join our advocacy efforts. Contact our Executive Director at [email protected].

Our recent advocacy efforts and policies are found below.

2017

ASLA-NY has joined 14 other NYC organizations who wrote a letter to the Mayor regarding improved public space for civil discourse.  We are meeting with the DOT Commissioner on March 6 to discuss concrete actions and next steps.  Please click here to read the letter (ASLA-NY was not a signatory to the original letter but subsequently joined the initiative).

ASLA-NY has signed on as a signatory to an open letter from Architects Advocate to President Trump regarding climate change.  Click here to read the letter, and include your own name if interested.

ASLA-NY will be participating in Lobby Day in Albany on May 17.  Please contact Diane Katz at [email protected] if you would like to join.

Press Release: ASLA-NY Urges Mayor to Develop Study for Penn Station

August 12, 2015

Dear Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito:

When the City Council voted in 2013 to limit the operating permit of Madison Square Garden to ten years, the American Society of Landscape Architects New York Chapter (ASLA-NY) joined with the Municipal Art Society (MAS) and Regional Plan Association (RPA) to call for a long-range planning effort for this iconic location. We continue to support MAS’ leadership and urge you to consider sustainability, adaptability to future uses, and the incorporation of green space in planning a new Penn Station.

The new structure must be designed with high levels of sustainable and high-performance standards for the site and its users. It should be an energy-efficient building with good indoor air quality – one that incorporates green space, a green roof and possibly green walls. The site should be designed for proper storm water management to reduce/reuse water before going into drainpipes. The new building should have a graceful interface with the pedestrian environment and be complemented by quality public open spaces contributing to the city’s cultural life.

We ask that you immediately start a comprehensive planning study for the area, including the U.S. Post Office site, underground spaces and surfaces with the potential for new green space and plazas. ASLA-NY welcomes the opportunity to assist in the effort to create a redevelopment plan which serves the city well economically, environmentally and culturally. Landscape architects are trained and skilled in the planning and design of our urban environments and public spaces. We bring expertise to the table to help devise the best plans for Penn Station and will collaborate with all appropriate city agencies and professional representatives, as well as the community.

Thank you in advance for your efforts to create a more efficient, environmentally responsible, fair and just city. Let’s make Penn Station an example of excellent coordination and planning.

Sincerely,

JNitzky Signature

Jennifer L. Nitzky, RLA, ASLA, ISA

ASLA-NY President

on Behalf of the ASLA-NY Advocacy & Policy Committee

CALL FOR COMMENTS on EPA PROPOSAL FOR PROTECTING POLLINATORS

ASLA-NY’s Advocacy and Policy Committee is considering submitting comments on a US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal as part of a national strategy for improving the health of pollinators announced by President Obama this May. The EPA is currently seeking comments on their proposal to protect pollinators and other non-target species from a type of insecticide which has been especially harmful: neonicitinoids. The public comment period closes July 29, 2015. In order to represent our members’ views, we invite you to send any thoughts regarding pollinator conservation in the next week.

Populations of both bees and many other pollinators are reported to be in a state of critical decline in NY and across the nation. Reasons for this decline are complex and include parasites, pesticides, habitat loss, changes in agricultural practice and global warming. ASLA promotes increasing habitat for pollinators as one of several strategies for supporting these extremely beneficial species, which provide essential ecological services to much of our food, other flowering plants and our other ecosystems. ASLA  also promotes active participation by landscape architects in the integration and dissemination of ecological information to the public and policy makers.

We invite you to comment on this proposal in the space provided below and refer to the following links for more information.

Links regarding the proposal:

http://www2.epa.gov/pollinator-protection/proposal-protect-bees-acutely-toxic-pesticides

Full text:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/267145574/EPA-s-Proposal-to-Mitigate-Exposure-to-Bees-from-Acutely-Toxic-Pesticide-Products#scribd

Some background on this topic:

Read President Obama’s directive.

 

A Bold Plan for Saving Pollinators: http://dirt.asla.org/2015/06/25/a-bold-plan-for-saving-pollinators/

 

ASLA Statement: Congress Can Protect Pollinators Through Highways BEE Act

 

ASLA Statement on White House Strategy to Promote Pollinator Health

The Secret Life of Pollinators: http://www.asla.org/land/LandArticle.aspx?id=43495

 

POLLINATORS & THE CITY: http://thefield.asla.org/2014/12/12/pollinators-the-city/

 

http://www.xerces.org/2013/09/24/new-report-beyond-the-birds-and-the-bees/

 

http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/cb/csb_page/updates/2015/pollinator-proposal-june-public-webinar.pdf

Thank you,

JNitzky Signature

Jennifer L. Nitzky

ASLA-NY President

Plans for Frick Collection Halted!

Frick Museum Abandons Contested Renovation Plan

June 3, 2015

The Frick Collection has yielded.

Facing a groundswell of opposition to a proposed renovation that would have eliminated a gated garden to make way for a six-story addition, the museum — long admired for its intimate scale — has decided to abandon those plans and start over from scratch.

Read the full NYTimes article here:

Green Space Advocates Create Pop-up Park at City Hall in Demonstration Against Proposed Executive Budget Cuts

IMG_0864ca

Council Member Mark Levine, ASLA-NY President Jennifer Nitzky, ASLA-NY President-elect Celine Armstrong and ASLA-NY Past President Nette Compton

ASLA-NY is proud to have supported Council Member Mark Levine and Tupper Thomas from New Yorkers for Parks at the May 27th Rally for Parks at City Hall Park. With trees donated by the New York Restoration Project and turf donated from a TPL Playground Program contractor, a pop-up park was created to set the stage for the event. Below is the press release from Levine’s office.

Elected Officials and Advocates Urge Administration to Fund a Visionary Park Equity Agenda

Green Space Advocates Create Pop-up Park at City Hall in Demonstration Against Proposed Executive Budget Cuts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 27

CONTACT: Tyrone Stevens (917) 842-5748 / [email protected]

NEW YORK — On Wednesday, May 27, City Council Parks Committee Chair Mark Levine, and New Yorkers for Parks alongside elected officials and more than 100 people from across the city, representing community gardeners, park users, church groups, and New Yorkers who care about their parks, gathered today to show their passionate support for our city’s green spaces. Parks supporters from across the city called on the Administration to fund key initiatives for public green spaces to address the equity gap. There are currently hundreds of struggling parks in low and moderate income communities that have fallen behind highly funded parks in wealthier areas.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Funding proposals the Council has called for that are not part of the Mayor’s Executive Budget includes support for the Community Parks Initiative, Green Thumb Program, and the hiring of additional gardeners, playground associates and maintenance workers. All of these programs are vital to advance a meaningful Park Equity Agenda.

The Mayor’s Executive Budget provides increases in funding for parks enforcement officers and tree maintenance, but cuts that impact parks operations remain in place. At yesterday’s executive budget hearing, Commissioner Silver acknowledged that the Mayor’s budget proposal cuts the jobs of 150 maintenance workers and gardeners, as well as staff at Community Parks Initiative sites. Additionally, the Administration’s ten year capital spending proposal allocates no funding for midsize anchor parks and represents a cut from the previous administration’s capital plan.

“As the city embarks on one of the biggest building booms in its history we must plan for green space and open space. Parks are anchors of healthy neighborhoods all over the city, and we must do more to ensure that every community has healthy green space–especially low- and moderate-income areas. I look forward to working with the Administration, colleagues in the City Council and parks advocates from across the five boroughs to ensure our green spaces are fully and equitably funded,” said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the City Council Parks Committee. 

“The Mayor’s budget does not support the growth, maintenance, innovation or equity that our city needs from its park system,” said Tupper Thomas, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks. “It’s time for the city to treat parks and gardens as the essential public services they are.”

image1.JPG

Council Member Costa Constantinides said, “When you improve a park, you improve a community.  Funding for parks should not be contingent on how wealthy the surrounding neighborhood is.  Investments in our city’s vital green spaces must be robust and equitable so that we all have the same access to great parks.  I support my colleague Council Member Mark Levine in this rally for parks equity and thank him for his leadership on this important issue.”

“Vibrant parks are the center piece to quality of life in New York City. In many communities in my district, the local park is the only green space that is available to my constituents. Unfortunately, our city’s parks have been underfunded for way too long, resulting in parks that are unsafe or rundown. Now is the time for the city to invest in green spaces in every neighborhood–New Yorkers deserve access to high quality parks no matter where they live,” staid Council Member Rafael L. Espinal, Jr., of Brooklyn.

“Our parks can only thrive as much as we invest in them,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “All New Yorkers have a right to access outdoor space. Any fair budget must contain sufficient resources for our parks to ensure that they are safe and well-maintained. On the East Side of Manhattan, we have one of the lowest rates of open space in the city. It is essential we invest in and maintain the parks we do have.”

“Quality parks increase the health of our neighborhoods. They provide a welcome change of pace from City life and afford children of all economic means a free place to play. As we as a Council  make strides against economic and environmental injustices, it is crucial that we address the equity gap in our Parks system and prioritize providing higher quality parks to those living in low-to-moderate income communities,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson (D-16th District, Bronx). “By increasing Parks funding, we will have an opportunity to better care for those parks without private endowments while adding significant value to our communities. I thank Council Member Levine for his leadership on this critical issue.

“The residents of Northern Manhattan know all too well the inequities that exist in our parks system. Though we boast the second greenest area in Manhattan we have only a fraction of the requisite resources. Today, I am proud to join my colleagues as we call for greater equity and transparency, so that the communities like mine in Northern Manhattan receive the resources we deserve,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.

“Central Park and Riverside Park in my district depend on funds from private donors to cover basic operating costs, and other parks are not so lucky. I join Council Member Mark Levine in calling for more funding for New York City parks,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

“Our parks are largely supported by volunteer organizations in our communities and they do a wonderful job, but they need our support so I stand with my colleagues and New Yorkers for Parks in calling for more funding to provide cleaner, safer parks and gardens,” said Council Member Donovan Richards (D-Queens).

We need to provide more funding for our Parks to close the equity gap in the city’s parks system.  Funding should be distributed equally so our children, families, and seniors can continue to enjoy our parks for recreational activity,” said Council Member Darlene Mealy.

Jennifer Nitzky, ASLA-NY President said, “Funding for city parks not only improves the quality of life for our communities, but it also ensures that the health, safety and welfare of it’s users remain a top priority. Landscape Architects lead the stewardship, planning and design of our built and natural environments. With proper funding, landscape architects are able to provide our communities with sustainable and vibrant parks that benefit all communities. ASLA-NY is proud to support Council Member Levine and the New Yorkers for Parks in their advocacy efforts to increase park funding.”

“New York City has the premier parks system in the country but the Department of Parks and Recreation’s budget has not kept pace with the needs of a system that has steadily increased in size and in usage,” saidMarcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “The Community Parks Initiative is a great start, but it will take a lot more to fully fund our parks. We look forward to working with the Administration and the City Council to realize a robustly-funded, well-maintained parks system that more equitably allocates resources.”

Peter H. Kostmayer, CEO of Citizens Committee for New York City, said: “New Yorkers mustn’t be forced to choose between affordable housing for our neighbors and precious open space and parkland. Developing housing on land that was once open and green would be a hollow victory indeed.”

 Items included in the Mayor’s Executive Budget released on May 7, 2015:

Expense:

  •  $5 million in funding for the Parks Enforcement Patrol

  • $2.6 million for tree pruning for a total of $6 million

  •  $3 million for Trees and Sidewalk Program for a total of $6 million

Capital:

  • $151 million for the second phase of the Community Parks Initiative

Items not included in the Mayor’s Executive Budget released on May 7, 2015 that Council Member Levine is calling for:

Expense:

  •  Restore $8.7 million for gardeners and park maintenance workers.

  • $1 million increase for the Green Thumbs Program to support the City’s more than 600 community gardens.

  • $750,000 for tree stump removal

  • Restore $750,000 in funding for the Parks Equity Initiative.

  • $5.4 million to hire 200 additional playground associates.

Capital:

  • $500K to support a Master Planning process for the city’s mid-sized parks–especially those which are regional draws with high usership.

  • $5 million for the Green Thumbs Program to address infrastructure needs.

###

Learn more about ASLA’s Advocacy efforts here:

ASLA.org

iAdvocate Network

iAdvocate from ASLA on Vimeo.