Shaping a Better NYC: An Election Primer

May 10, 2021

Shaping a Better NYC: An Election Primer Spotlights Urban Planning and Development Priorities of NYC Mayoral Candidates

Launch of New Online Resource Developed by Coalition of Eight Civic Organizations Seeks to Educate New Yorkers About Candidate Positions

Contact: Mark McNulty, Regional Plan Association,, (908) 235-1719

(May 11, 2021—New York City)—Launching today is a new, online resource–Shaping a Better NYC: An Election Primer–which provides information to help New Yorkers make informed decisions in the upcoming Mayoral election. The website, created by a coalition of civic, planning and design organizations, features interviews highlighting the vision of several top candidates on how the city can recover from the pandemic and build a more just and equitable future. The interviews also focus on candidate proposals that center equitable design, planning, and development priorities across the five boroughs.

Issues covered in the interviews, available online at, include homelessness, housing affordability, access to parks and open space, climate change and its impacts on communities of color, underinvestment in transportation and infrastructure, and recovering from COVID-19. The website also features high-level perspectives from each organization on issues central to their constituencies.

Shaping a Better NYC is the product of eight organizations advocating for thriving neighborhoods, beautiful parks, lively commercial corridors, and welcoming public buildings. Partnering organizations in the coalition reach a collective audience of more than 200,000 New Yorkers. The organizations include: AIA New York, The Architectural League of New York, Design Trust for Public Space, the Municipal Art Society of New York, Open House New York, Regional Plan Association, Urban Design Forum, and Van Alen Institute.

The coalition invited the top polling candidates for one-hour interviews. Below are the candidates that participated in interviews from March-April 2021. Shaping a Better NYC welcomes the participation of the remaining candidates. To access the interviews, and for more information about the candidates, please visit

Select quotes from the interviews include:

We have not opened the city to all New Yorkers…people don’t believe that all of the beauty that the city has to offer is for everyone. And so, I want to be intentional about allowing the child from Tilden Houses to feel comfortable, to go into different parts of this city and explore this city and see some of the beautiful architectural designs that are in this city. It can really excite their curiosity.

…I believe in an open, accessible city where every New Yorker, no matter what neighborhood they’re in, they will see that welcome mat is not based on your economics or your zip code.

–Eric Adams

I know what it means to lead through a crisis. And I know that those who are the most vulnerable before a crisis hits are always hurt the worst by it. And that’s why I will lead putting equity at the front.

…As a designer myself who studied architecture and planning and housing, I fundamentally believe that designers need to be at the center of reimagining this as a city that works for everyone.

…At the center of my platform as mayor are 15-minute neighborhoods…where every New Yorker has within 15 minutes of their front door access to everything that they need for opportunity.

–Shaun Donovan

When we rethink the public realm, it is about making sure that we are engaging with architects, with landscape architects, with design professionals, and with communities—that this needs to be something where we are creating real function, but also real beauty, because it makes us, it makes the city, a more livable city.

…Whether you’re thinking about building affordable housing, or designing a park, or about how to build a sanitation garage, where you work and the spaces that you are in, impact your physical health and your mental health and your ability to succeed.

–Kathryn Garcia

Critical and central to (my) life’s mission (is) to dismantle structural racism…how we have made decisions and investments in this country, and in this city, in ways that have also shaped the physical space and the experience we have in the city.

…So, when we think about physical space, I have a very specific plan for how we start to achieve livability, which is focused on creating an Office for Open Space Management, because in a city with our density, space is a critical component to how we create livability, but also how we create justice and fairness and things like environmental health and solving transit deserts.

–Maya Wiley