We are the Alternative Building Industry Collective. Or, if you like, the ABI Collective.
We are based in New York City and we are a new, ad hoc industrial organization. Our purpose is to advance climate action within the building sector of the local construction industry. We first came together to defend Local Law 97 as critical legislation for slashing our city’s carbon footprint and transitioning New York’s building stock away from fossil fuels. We remain committed to that objective but our ambitions go well beyond LL97.
The ABI Collective aspires to cohere a community of climate-conscious architects and engineers eager to reorder the priorities of our industry in pursuit of a just transition. We intend to do so while leveraging our role as practitioners within the design/construction industry, but while leaving our professional affiliations—and limitations—at the door.
We have come to the conclusion that being a practitioner is not enough. We are technically in positions to design and build climate resilience, clean energy and sustainability into the future of our city. But structurally and politically the building industry is nowhere close to being on track, and it also bears responsibility for getting us into this mess. We scrutinize the role our workplaces have played in racial, economic, and climate injustice and we call out false solutions or projects that take us backward.
Why We Exist
As practitioners within the industry, we see up close how laws and codes combine with economic incentive to shape what gets built and what doesn’t.
There can be no hope for any transformative green industrial policy without green industrial organizations capable of meaningful political action. To be successful, such organizations, unions and others, must be inoculated against the shortsighted interests of the captains of our industry and their investors.
We work to identify patterns and problems within our workplaces and the industry at large. We believe the public deserves to understand why the built environment is built the way it is and to have a say in building it better.
We take seriously the global contribution by our industry of nearly 40% of annual greenhouse gas emissions. Parallel to efforts within the energy sector to combat the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, we seek to slash the carbon footprint of the building sector through democratic planning around new political priorities.
We envision a new economy that is not only ecologically responsible but also geared for the development of a vastly more equal society. We will get there through a “just transition”: an economic and political shift toward environmental justice and real sustainability with justice for workers & communities.