The 2018 Midterm Elections took place earlier this month. Turnout hit, a 50-year high, with numbers more reflective of presidential elections. New York in particular saw an incredible amount of campaigning and close races. The state senate flipped to the Democrats for the first time in nearly a decade, while the results of congressional races in and around New York helped determine control of congress.
The outcomes of these races will likely have significant implications for a number of issues affecting the construction industry. Affordable housing, infrastructure, and sustainability all may be thrust to the forefront of political conversations in the state and country.
However, there were other votes which received far less press than those around the state senate or congress, which will have a significant impact on the industry: the three ballot proposals to amend the city charter. Two of them in particular will affect the industry: the second proposal creating the Civic Engagement Commission and the third one instituting community board term limits.
The Civic Engagement Commission will be tasked with implementing a citywide participatory budgeting program. Further public involvement in funding capital projects should hopefully make members of the public more invested in seeing these projects to fruition, while increasing public understanding of the challenges to building in New York City.
Meanwhile, term limits on community board members should enable members of the public to become more involved in land use. On many community boards, there has been little turnover, even as few members are actual land use professionals. Term limits should hopefully make community boards more reflective of their districts, while allowing for more qualified people to serve as members.
With all of these political changes in New York, the next few years will be very exciting. Right now, there is the chance for major positive changes to New York’s land use policies and who informs those policies.
Guy Geier, FAIA, FIIDA, LEED AP, is the 2018 president of AIA New York and managing partner of FXCollaborative Architects LLP, New York, N.Y.