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.
Our recent advocacy efforts and policies are found below.
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.
In September, our chapter was approached to show support for saving Theodore Roosevelt Park at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) on the Upper West Side. The museum proposed plans for expansion on the building’s west side that would encroach the parkland, both reducing treasured green space and potentially removing several large, mature trees. ASLA-NY’s Advocacy and Policy Committee drafted a letter to AMNH President Ellen Futter showing our support for the treasured parkland and urging the museum to reconsider plans in favor of preserving the green space. You can download the letter here or read below. For more information on the Save Teddy Roosevelt Park efforts go to: http://saveteddyrooseveltpark.org/
September 23, 2015
American Museum of Natural History
Att.: Ellen V. Futter, President
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Dear Ms. Futter:
The American Society of Landscape Architects – New York Chapter (ASLA-NY) is a professional organization with over 600 members whose vision is to lead the design and stewardship of our land and communities. We advocate for the preservation of our city’s green space especially as it relates to the health, safety and welfare of the local community. As Richard Louv states in his book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder “Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health (and also, by the way, in our own).”
We write you today due to our concern with the proposed expansion of the American Museum of Natural History in Theodore Roosevelt Park. The welfare of the neighborhood surrounding the park is enhanced by the existence and vitality of this treasured green space, designed by well-known New York landscape architect, Judith Heinz. DK Eyewitness Top Ten tour guides labeled the park one of the top ten oases in New York City and we believe it is in the best interest of the city that it be preserved.
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.
Jennifer L. Nitzky, RLA, ASLA, ISA
on Behalf of the ASLA-NY Advocacy & Policy Committee
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:
Some background on this topic:
A Bold Plan for Saving Pollinators: http://dirt.asla.org/2015/06/25/a-bold-plan-for-saving-pollinators/
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/
Jennifer L. Nitzky
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: