Photo credit: Thomas Habr via unsplash
Photo credit: Thomas Habr via unsplash

Policy Pulse: AIA Releases Disaster Assistance Handbook

Policy and Advocacy by • 04/05

As the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approaches this fall, AIA has released a significantly enhanced version of its Disaster Assistance Handbook that will serve as a go-to resource for architects, built environment professionals, municipal government officials, and emergency managers involved in disaster mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery. The revised handbook also serves as a step-by-step guide for maximizing architects’ unique skills in addressing each phase of the disaster cycle.

The handbook was developed by a nationwide team of AIA members and staff experienced in disaster response and preparedness, with contributions and review from industry experts and government officials. Key features of the Third Edition of the handbook include a new chapter on hazard mitigation and risk reduction and detailed explanations of recent changes and advances in emergency management protocols, as well as case studies, best practices, and replicable projects from AIA chapters and members.

The handbook’s new case studies catalogue best practices and lessons learned from every stage of the disaster cycle. These include AIANY’s Post-Sandy Initiative, led by the Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee, and the AIANY’s “Design Help Desk,” providing homeowners with free guidance on obtaining financial assistance and making repair and rebuilding decisions following Hurricane Sandy. The handbook is available now online, and ongoing outreach and education efforts are planned over the coming year.

AIANY continues to enhance and advocate for the unique skillsets architects bring to all phases of emergency management, including working with local governments to prepare for and respond to disasters and enhancing community resilience through individual client projects and participation in broader planning efforts. At the state legislature, AIANY is supporting the Emergency Responder’s Act, which allows architects and building industry professionals to use their skills for emergency work after a disaster. The skills architects provide are essential to quick recovery and enable communities to return to their normal lives.

Event Announcement

AIANY is hosting conversations with NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner (DDC) Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora and NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) Commissioner Rick Chandler in the coming weeks. Both commissioners will speak on the state of their agencies as the third anniversary of their appointments approach. In addition, the commissioners will address what changes have taken place as a result of their many meetings with AIANY architects. There will also be opportunities to ask questions and make relevant statements and comments:

  • On 04.24.17, AIANY hosts DDC Commissioner Peña-Mora at the Center for Architecture from 9-10am. Interested members may register here.
  • On 05.05.17, AIANY hosts DOB Commissioner Chandler at the Center for Architecture from 9-10am. Interested members may register here.

Policy Points

  • On 03.31.17, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio threw his support behind closing jail facilities on Rikers Island and moving all inmates to other facilities throughout the five boroughs over a ten-year period, a shift from his stance that a closure would be too complicated. Retired New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman chaired the Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform that released the report detailing the support for closing the jail.
  • On 04.03.17, Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislatures agreed to a temporary budget extender after failing to reach a state budget agreement by the 04.01.17 deadline. The extender will keep the government fully functioning until 05.31.17 as budget negotiations continue.
  • On 03.30.17, the AIA announced that former First Lady Michelle Obama has been added to the lineup of keynote speakers for the 2017 AIA conference in Orlando, Florida on 04.27-29.17. To learn more and register, continue here.
  • As part of the Driverless Future Challenge, Blankspace announced their ‘Pitch the City’ event for 08.11.17 at the NYU Skirball Center, where four finalist teams will pitch their proposals to a panel of prominent New York City officials from the Mayor’s Office, the NYC Department of Transportation, the NYC Economic Development Corporation, the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, and a live audience. To learn more and register, continue here.
  • The AIANY Design for Aging Committee is developing a tri-lingual version of the Aging in Place Guide for Building Owners developed last year. The guide will be translated and released in Spanish and Chinese this summer as part of the AIANY’s mission of public outreach.

Grassi & Co. are conducting a survey on the current and future state of the New York Tri-State Construction and Architecture & Engineering market. The goal of the survey is to provide the industry with benchmarks to assist executives in developing business strategies for the upcoming year. Input is kept confidential and results will only be shared in aggregate form, released in May of 2017. Continue here to complete the survey.

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