I am so honored to have been asked to chair the Landmarks Preservation Commission. When I was a young preservationist, my goal was to work for the largest and strongest municipal preservation agency in the country to protect the city I grew up in and loved. For the past 24 years, I have been able to do just that and it's been a gratifying experience to have contributed to protecting and shaping our built environment.
In thinking about my appointment, I have reflected on my years at the LPC. I am amazed to realize that I have been with the Commission, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015, for nearly half of its existence. During this time, I have seen the agency grow both in size and capacity. The Commission has designated close to 15,500 buildings and sites since I began working at LPC in 1994, bringing the number of total buildings and sites to over 36,000. Designations have expanded across the boroughs. When I started, Manhattan had the most designated buildings and sites, and now Brooklyn is the borough with the largest number with nearly 15,900 designated buildings and sites. The number of applications we receive annually has also grown significantly from approximately 5,000 to more than 14,000 per year, and staff has increased over the years to meet the demands.
The use of technology has revolutionized the way we work and allowed unprecedented access to aspects of the Commission's work. We've gone from hand typing designation reports and permits, to using databases that provide alerts, tracking and monitoring of the agency's work. When I started, the agency only had intranet and only a select few staff could confirm whether a property was designated. Today, we have an interactive web map that can be used by any member of the public to look up a designated property and access specific data on that property.
I am excited to now look to the future and get to work tackling our challenges and partnering with our colleagues in the preservation community to continue to designate and protect properties that reflect city’s rich and diverse history. At the same time, I will continue to find ways to increase efficiency in our regulatory work while maintaining a thorough, hands-on approach to regulation, and will continue to leverage technology to make all of our work accessible and raise awareness on the importance of our work.
I look forward to continuing to work together to make preservation in New York City successful so that we can ensure LPC remains the largest and strongest preservation agency in the nation.
Wish you all the best,