On view: Exploring the Green New Deal’s Relationship to Society, Policy, and the Built Environment


On Nov.17th a wide array of advocates, organizers, and elected officials gathered at the Queens Museum for “The Green New Deal: A Public Assembly” to explore the Green New Deal’s (GND) relationship to society, policy, and the built environment.

The discussions were structured around three topics and their relationship to power: Energy, Transportation, and Government. For each topic a large panel with relevant maps, graphics, and other information was used as tools to begin thinking systematically and across scales. These panels will be on view through mid January in the museum’s Werwaiss Gallery for museum visitors to engage with.

Climate change is a crisis of unevenly experienced and systemic injustices that asks hard questions of scholars, practitioners, and community members alike. The Green New Deal—most famously as drafted in US H. Res. 109 and S. Res. 59, but echoed by elected officials and activists around the world—addresses these questions head-on, linking equity, the environment, and the economy to the transformations necessitated by the climate crisis.

“The Green New Deal: A Public Assembly” focused on modeling democratic debates that seriously consider the ambitions and challenges of the GND by thinking systemically and across scales. The public event included morning workshops and an afternoon series of discussions to encourage exchange among invited guests representing a range of disciplines as well as the general public.

Located at the Queens Museum—home of the Panorama of the City of New York and in the heart of the nation’s most diverse borough—“The Green New Deal: A Public Assembly” took place within US Congressional District NY 14, jurisdiction of the GND Resolution’s sponsor Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The event was organized by the Queens Museum, the American Institute of Architects New York (AIA New York), The Architecture Lobby, Francisco J. Casablanca (¿Quién Nos Representa?), and Gabriel Hernández Solano (GND Organizer), together with the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University.

At the Buell Center, “The Green New Deal: A Public Assembly” forms part of the project “Power: Infrastructure in America,” within which the Center has organized a series of research, curricular, and programming initiatives that consider the social, technical, and political contours of the ambitious—but still largely undefined—proposal. For more information, see power.buellcenter.columbia.edu 



The Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture
Columbia University’s Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture was founded in 1982. Its mission is to advance the interdisciplinary study of American architecture, urbanism, and landscape. A separately endowed entity within the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, it sponsors research projects, workshops, public programs, publications, and awards. In recent years, the Center has convened issue-oriented conversations around matters of public concern, such as housing, that are addressed to overlapping constituencies including academics, students, professionals, and members of the general public. For more information, see buellcenter.columbia.edu.

The Queens Museum
The Queens Museum is dedicated to presenting the highest quality visual arts and educational programming for people in the New York metropolitan area, and particularly for the residents of Queens, a uniquely diverse, ethnic, cultural, and international community. The Museum fulfills its mission by designing and providing art exhibitions, public programs and educational experiences that promote the appreciation and enjoyment of art, support the creative efforts of artists, and enhance the quality of life through interpreting, collecting, and exhibiting art, architecture, and design. For more information, see queensmuseum.org.



Francisco J. Casablanca
Francisco J. Casablanca is a Puerto Rican architect and activist and the creator of the page “¿Quién nos representa?,” which seeks to visualize the political map of Puerto Rico to provide political accountability. ‘Casa,’ as known by his friends, uses his knowledge of architecture, urban, sustainable, and environmental design to collaborate with policy makers, civil servants, academics, and community organizers to create a new vision for the future. Currently, he works as a Lead Lighting Designer and has an architectural background with an MSc in Sustainable & Environmental Design from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. 

Gabriel Hernández Solano
Gabriel Hernández Solano is Chilean-Canadian designer, activist, and street photographer based in NYC. He is currently an Associate at MASS Design Group, a design firm focusing on impact-driven projects and community-based development in the realms of healthcare, housing, native communities, food justice, and mass incarceration. Prior to MASS, Gabriel worked at Bjarke Ingels Group for 5 years and received his Master of Architecture at the University of Calgary. His thesis explored the reactivation of abandoned buildings by the African migrant community in Barcelona’s former industrial district of Poblenou. Gabriel is currently focusing his organizing efforts around the Green New Deal.

The American Institute of Architects, New York
Founded in 1857, AIA New York is the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The Chapter’s members include nearly 6,000 practicing architects, allied professionals, students, and public members interested in architecture and design. AIA New York is dedicated to three goals: design excellence, public outreach, and professional development. The Chapter organizes an array of initiatives, programs, and exhibitions that explore topics vital to the architecture profession, including housing, planning, historic preservation, and urban design. For more information, see aiany.org.

The Architecture Lobby
Founded in NYC in 2013, The Architecture Lobby is an organization of workers in the architecture industry and allied disciplines advocating for the value of architecture in the general public and for architectural work within the discipline. The Lobby has a national presence in the U.S. with over a dozen active chapters; in 2019, the first international chapter was formed in Victoria, Australia. The Architecture Lobby believes that the work architects do—aesthetic, technical, social, organizational, environmental, administrative, fiduciary—needs structural change to be more rewarding and more socially relevant. The Lobby believes as long as the discipline of architecture tolerates abusive practices— in its workplaces, in its schools, and on the building site—it cannot insist on its role in and for the public good. For more information, see architecture-lobby.org]


photo credit: Claudia Kleffmann (Columbia GSAPP)