What are you paying attention to as the Biden Administration takes over in Washington?
It’s heartening to see the Administration staff all the federal agencies from top to bottom with officials who understand climate change. I saw a recent headline that said “every agency is a climate agency now,” and that’s truly the case. We’ve always worked on climate on the side. Now, climate is at the top of the agenda for virtually all the agencies. It’s a profound shift.
Tell me about this new report you’re working on about right-of-way.
We’re seeing new and expanded uses in the right-of-way amid the pandemic like outdoor dining and more bike lanes. People are seeing changes and asking what else is possible. There’s lots of emotion about it right now so we want to match the emotion with an analysis of the laws and policies governing right-of-way. We’re also keen to see how we can use the right-of-way to mitigate the impacts of climate change and maybe even bring a little nature back into the city.
RPA is turning 100 years old in 2022 and you’ve been with the organization for almost 15 of them. What’s noteworthy to you about our upcoming centennial?
As someone who specializes in adaptation, it’s been really interesting to see how RPA adapts. For example, while climate change was on our radar during the Third Plan in the nineties, we used the run-up to the Fourth Plan to transform our Energy and Environment program into more of a climate program, breaking new ground in adaptation and decarbonization while bringing climate to the forefront of our open space and conservation efforts. So I’m eager to consider how the organization may adapt over the next 100 years.