From Urban Omnibus:
Across the five boroughs, there are a total of 59 community boards, each with 50 members who are appointed for staggered two year terms. In 2010, half of the 2950 seats are open for new appointments. According to Mr. Khan and Margery Perlmutter, legislative director of the AIA New York Chapter, architects are sorely needed to fill some of those seats. When major projects such as the East River Waterfront Esplanade, or the construction of new buildings in historic districts are undertaken, the land use committees of community boards are consulted and often relied upon heavily for community input. Architects can play a very important role on these committees when forming recommendations for projects that are sometimes controversial and would affect the daily lives of many people. According to Ms. Perlmutter, the need for architects’ expertise and judgment in issues of zoning, landmarks, and design is needed throughout the city, but is even greater in the outer Boroughs.
Based on that statement, I decided to look up my community board, and find out the range of professional expertise among its members. When I spoke to Robert Perris, district manager of Brooklyn Community Board 2, he told me that there were no architects on the board. Not only that, there were no landscape architects, no engineers, and no artists or designers. In a district with double the citywide percentage of professionals and a large artist community, I found this surprising. It certainly speaks to the need for recruiting members of the design professions. The only qualifications to be eligible for a community board seat are residence in New York City, a “significant interest” in the community board to which the application is made (defined simply as living or working in the district), and some record of community involvement or engagement.
Yes, we all know how important it is to have members of the real estate profession on the community board. And we all know how architects love to become involved and engaged in the communities in which they work. It's also interesting how there are no architects on the referenced Manhattan CB yet I can think of at least 2 notorious architects that have found their way onto Queens community boards. Wonder how that happened.