Advocacy

AMERICAN SOCIETY OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS CONVENES BLUE RIBBON PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND RESILIENCE

Top Left: ASLA 2016 Professional Analysis and Planning Honor Award. The Big U, New York, NY. BIG and Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners. Top Right: ASLA 2015 Professional General Design Honor Award. Perez Art Museum Miami: Resiliency by Design, Miami, Florida. ArquitectonicaGEO / copyright Robin Hill. Bottom Left: ASLA 2016 Professional Communications Honor Award. Sea Change: Boston, Boston, MA. Sasaki Associates. Bottom Right: Living Breakwaters, Staten Island, NY. SCAPE Landscape Architecture.

Multidisciplinary panel to make policy recommendations around climate change mitigation and adaptation
9/13/2017 – The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the professional association for landscape architects in the United States, is convening a blue ribbon panel to make comprehensive public-policy recommendations for mitigating and adapting to climate change through resilient design.
Composed of 11 experts from across various disciplines, the panel will make recommendations that will ultimately save lives and affordably protect cities from future natural disasters. ASLA urges responsible policy makers to look to innovative urban design as they make infrastructure investments to make communities more resilient and better equipped to recover from disruptive climate events.
“ASLA has identified climate change as a key issue for its members, and for society at large,” said Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA. “The recent devastating and real impacts of natural disasters such as hurricanes Harvey and Irma highlight the need for policy makers, both state and local, to invest in thoughtful and climate-resilient solutions to systemic infrastructure issues.” 
ASLA has long advocated for sustainable landscape architecture at the intersection of design and smart policy, working with legislators and stakeholders on effective solutions that minimize the effects of climate change. Transportation and land planning that incorporates green infrastructure can provide critical services for communities, protecting them against flooding and excessive heat, and helping to improve air and water quality.
“We’ve reached a turning point in our history with regards to climate change, and the effects are undeniable at this stage,” said Dr. Jalonne White-Newsome, senior program officer with The Kresge Foundation’s environment program and a member of the blue ribbon panel. “We must take the appropriate measures and create low-carbon, sustainable and resilient communities.  This includes adapting our landscapes to changing climate conditions so we are best positioned to handle the anticipated consequences while ensuring that equity and the concerns of our most vulnerable communities are at the forefront of our planning.” 
The experts of the ASLA Blue Ribbon Panel will gather for a two-day meeting starting on Thursday, September 21 through Friday, September 22, 2017. The panel will publicly present its findings and policy recommendations in the form of a report in January 2018.
The members of the panel include:
  • Vaughn Rinner, FASLA, ASLA President, Chair
  • Armando Carbonell, FAICP, FAcSS, Hon MRTPI, Senior Fellow and Chair, Department of Planning and Urban Form, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
  • Mark Dawson, FASLA, Managing Principal, Sasaki Associates Inc.
  • Tim Duggan, ASLA, RLA, Founder, Phronesis
  • Ying-yu Hung, ASLA, Managing Principal, Principal, SWA, Los Angeles Studio
  • Dr. Dwane Jones, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Sustainable Development + Resilience at the University of the District of Columbia
  • Diane Jones Allen, ASLA, Program Director for Landscape Architecture, the College of Architecture Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington
  • Adam Ortiz, Director for the Department of the Environment for Prince George’s County, Maryland
  • Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, Hon. AIA, SITES AP, Executive Vice President and CEO, ASLA
  • Laurinda Spear, FAIA, RLA, ASLA, LEED AP, IIDA, Principal-in-Charge, ArquitectonicaGeo
  • Dr. Jalonne L. White-Newsome, Senior Program Officer, Environment, The Kresge Foundation

 

For more info go to: https://www.asla.org/climatepolicies.aspx

 

Advocacy Alert: Bill to Eliminate the EPA

Capitol bldg JN-web

Friends and Colleagues,

As many of you know, a bill was recently introduced in the House of Representatives that would terminate the Environmental Protection Agency. As a professional organization that advocates for and leads the stewardship, planning, and design of our built and natural environments, it is important for us to defend the future of the EPA. ASLA recently sent a letter to Representative Matt Gaetz (Florida), the author of the bill, urging him to withdraw consideration of the proposed legislation and issued a statement opposing the measure.

Now we need your help. Please click here to easily send a letter to your U.S. House Rep urging them to oppose H.R. 861 which would eliminate the EPA. Forward this link on to friends and colleagues across the country too! I hope you will all join this important effort to protect our environment today. Better yet, CALL your representative! It is usually more effective to speak to government officials or meet in person. To find out who your representatives are and get contact info, go to: http://advocate.asla.org/ and type in your zip code.

Read ASLA’s statement here: https://www.asla.org/NewsReleaseDetails.aspx?id=49960

Read the letter to Rep. Gaetz here: https://www.asla.org/uploadedFiles/CMS/Government_Affairs/HR502EPALetter02_15_17%20EPA%20FINAL.pdf
Letter to Mayor De Blasio to Improve Public Spaces for Civic Engagement

Last month a letter to the Mayor was publicized having been drafted by several NYC organizations to bring greater awareness and programing to public space for civic expression. Our Executive Director, Kathy Shea and I have been in conversation with Susan Chin at The Design Trust for Public Space to get involved with the efforts moving forward. Next week we will be meeting with DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to discuss next steps. We will keep you posted on results of that meeting.

Read the letter here:
https://www.vanalen.org/stories/public-space-for-free-expression/

 

ASLA Advocacy Day is April 27

Every year chapter presidents and trustees from across the nation meet in DC to advocate for important issues relating to our profession on Capitol Hill. Elizabeth Jordan, Adrian Smith and I will be attending and this year we will sponsor two CCNY students, Robynne Heymans and Jacqui Leboutillier to join us and experience this higher level of service. We are very excited to offer this opportunity to students as future leaders of our chapter!

Interested in learning more about ASLA’s Advocacy news or following current bills?
Go to http://advocate.asla.org. There you can also sign up to receive email alerts when there is an advocacy alert from ASLA.
NY State Lobby Day is May 17

Representatives from the New York Council of Landscape Architects (NYSCLA), which includes members from our chapter and the Upstate New York chapter, travel to Albany to advocate for landscape architect’s rights. Lobby Day provides an important opportunity for NYSCLA to focus on how proposed and existing state laws and regulations will impact our environment and the profession. Attending Lobby Day is a high priority for our chapter and we welcome your input this year.

If you are interested in learning more or being involved in Lobby Day this year, please contact our Executive Director, Kathy Shea at [email protected]
As always, if you have concerns, ideas or want to be more involved in the profession, please contact us. Our Executive Board represents YOU and we are happy to have your input.

Thank you kindly,
Jennifer L. Nitzky, RLA, ASLA, ISA
ASLA-NY President

Download a PDF version of this letter

ASLA-NY POSITION PAPER on PROTECTING POLLINATORS

September 18, 2015

Click to download a PDF version

Summary
The American Society of Landscape Architects – New York Chapter (ASLA-NY), represents nearly 600 professional practitioners, academics and affiliates. We promote long-term ecological health and fitness of the environment including protection of pollinators, which are keystone ecosystem species that provide vital ecosystem services to agricultural, ornamental and natural landscapes. It is part of the society’s mission to share knowledge and encourage communication between public officials and community leaders to improve policies and practices. The White House issued a directive in April, 2015 to Federal agencies, crafted with ASLA assistance, to develop a coordinated approach to protecting pollinators.(1)

In that spirit, we offer this ASLA-NY position paper to inform our members and the public about the issues, especially in regards to New York landscapes. Our goal is to help redirect a suite of human actions which have long-term adverse impacts on pollinators to favor practices which support these very beneficial species.

Pollinators in trouble
Pollinators include managed and wild bees, moths, wasps, butterflies, hummingbirds, bats, hornets, flies, beetles and other insects which visit flowering plants, spread pollen from flower to flower, and enable fruits, nuts, acorns, seeds and vegetables to develop. There are another 4,000 species of bees in the US in addition to the honey bee(2) and they play a critical role in pollinating ornamental plants, forests, grassland and wetland species, and food crops.

Populations of many, though not all, managed and wild pollinators are in decline worldwide, resulting in a large and growing body of scientific studies documenting pollinator numbers, causes of decline and the results of strategies intended to help. New research is rapidly adding to the knowledge base for helping pollinators to recover. After reviewing some of the recent research, consulting with scientists and other advocates for pollinator-protection actions, ASLA-NY joins a number of concerned organizations(3) which have issued papers and guidelines for reversing the trend, and helping these populations recover. As additional information becomes available, ASLA-NY’s position may be revised in response to new evidence.

Across the U.S. the number of pollinators has dropped significantly over the last 50 years. Declines in managed honey bee populations have been monitored most closely, with U.S. beekeepers losing an average of 30% of their colonies each winter. Several species of wild pollinator populations, which are more difficult to monitor, also show evidence of widespread loss. For example, approximately half of U. S. and European bumble bee species studied have reduced populations, though a smaller percentage show increases.(4) Read more

Advocating for Park Space at AMNH

SaveTeddyRParkIn 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.
Read more

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: