New York City Votes to Require Bird-Friendly Construction
New York City Council passed legislation that will now mandate all new construction use bird-safe glass on facades below 75 feet. New York City Audubon estimates that up to 230,000 birds crash into glass building surfaces across the five boroughs annually. The new legislation aims to address migratory patterns as birds pass through New York on the Atlantic Flyway.
The legislation will take effect in December 2020. The bill was introduced by Brooklyn Councilmember Rafael Espinal and passed with a 41-3 vote. As the New York Times reports, 29 percent of birds have vanished from North America since 1970. The bill will require 90 percent of the first 75 feet of new buildings to be constructed with bird-safe materials. “Birds are an incredibly vital part of our ecosystem and I am proud that New York City is taking responsibility for our role in this ecosystem that existed long before our towering skyscrapers,” said Espinal.
Rita McMahon, Director of the Wild Bird Fund, says that, “It’s a landmark decision. What the Council did is going to save thousands of lives, and hopefully, other cities, builders, and architects will follow New York City’s compassionate lead.” The news follows New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's plans to introduce a bill banning the construction of glass skyscrapers, forming part of efforts to reduce citywide greenhouse emissions by 30 percent. Unveiling the plans, he described all-glass façade skyscrapers as “incredibly inefficient” because of heat loss.
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