Oculus - Spring 2011 - (Page 35)

last words LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PlaNYC: Where We Would Be Laura Trimble P Bell at the new Union Station Bikestation in Washington, DC. “Good fortune is guiding our affairs better than we could have desired, for there you see, friend Sancho Panza, thirty or more enormous giants with whom I intend to do battle.” —from Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes (1605) “Ariadne: How did architects get involved? Cobb: Someone had to design the dreams.” —from the film Inception, Christopher Nolan (2010) “If we call out in unison The season of flowers Will also come Happy days shall be here again” —from the song “Mitwa” in the Bollywood film Lagaan (2001) laNYC was announced by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Earth Day in April 2007. Its authors are diligently endeavoring to bring many of its fundamental aspirations to fruition in the time that remains to the administration. But as a Mayor’s Office update states, “Any long-term vision must be refreshed over time.” It notes that the city supported the passage of Local Law 17 of 2008, which requires an update to PlaNYC every four years: “As a longterm plan, much of PlaNYC is still not complete; that is appropriate. But, once every four years, it is equally appropriate to ask: What has worked well? What can go farther?” In remarks at a Sallan Foundation event at the Center for Architecture, Adam Freed, deputy director of the Mayor’s Office for Long-Term Planning & Sustainability, called for benchmarking of both public and private buildings “to establish comparative baseline data on their energy and water consumption.” This benchmarking requirement, according to Sallan Executive Director Nancy Anderson, “is in keeping with the Bloomberg Administration mantra ‘What gets measured gets managed.’” Requiring metrics on achieving goals is now mandated by statute. In his 2009 song “Time Flies,” Steven Wilson of the band Porcupine Tree asks, “How does time break down? / With no marker, things slow down.” We will know how many of the million new trees called for in the initial report have been planted, and how many acres of park have been added. We will know how many miles of protected bike lanes knit our city together, and whether or not we are planning secure bike parking for commuters, such as the Bikestation facility near Union Station in Washington, DC. In addition, guideline documents from several city agencies assure that design matters and that quality is important. Quantitative and qualitative reporting is important to carrying the aspirations of PlaNYC into the next mayoralty. But the most important result that those in office now can achieve is a change in consciousness as we head to carbon neutrality and energy independence by 2030. Not many months are left to change the political landscape and make it inevitable that the 2013 mayoral candidates embrace the dreams of PlaNYC. Elia Suleiman’s 2009 Palestinian film, The Time That Remains, closes with a jazzy version of “Stayin’ Alive,” the Bee Gees song that characterized New York City in the lean days of 1977: “Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’.” We need nifty footwork more than ever. Imagine today is January 1, 2014. New York’s new mayor is not quoting E.B. White at the inauguration, as did Mayor Bloomberg in 2010. But she – or he – is talking about what one generation learns from another, and what one political leader owes to another, speaking to constituents whose expectations create the conditions for continuity of policy. Perhaps the inaugural remarks delivered a thousand days from now will strike a Bloomberg refrain: “We must work together to plan – and act – to make our city, which will have 9.1 million residents in 2030, easier to live in, healthier, and more equitable than it is today. We must work together today to make the changes we need so that the lives of those who come after us are even better than our own. We must work together to share ideas, to promote innovation, to make pragmatic change, to balance short-term costs and long-term benefits. Above all, we must continue to make progress to ensure that New York is a greener, greater city in 2030.” As we heard from David Bragdon, director of the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning & Sustainability, PlaNYC is essentially “about beauty, emotional attachment to place, and love of where you are.” And at the 2014 inaugural, instead of John Lithgow or Liza Minelli, we might hear the new mayor bring Steven Wilson to the lectern to sing from Lightbulb Sun: “Tied to a time / When we knew that the sun would shine / And we could just talk for a while… / Of where we would be when the future comes.” ■ Rick Bell, FAIA Executive Director, AIA New York Chapter Design for a Change: Buildings, People, Energy Spring 2011 Oculus 35

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Spring 2011

Oculus - Spring 2011
First Words
A Word from the Editor
Center for Architecture
One Block Over
Opener: A Critique of Pure Sustainability
Testing Green Ideas
New Life for a Boomer Building
School Back in Session After 30-Year Recess
It Takes More Than a Village
Shedding Light
What Every Architect Should Know About NYC’s New Energy Laws
Good Practices
44-Year Watch
Last Words
Index to Advertisers

Oculus - Spring 2011