Fast Company Innovation by Design 2023
Unlocking the potential of NYC's public spaces.
August 10, 2023
Wednesday, September 06, 2023 @ 5:30 PM
We saved the High Line from demolition.
Learn about ways to work with us on a project.
New Yorkers applaud the City Council for celebrating outdoor dining culture and prioritizing community use of sidewalks. Beyond supporting local restaurants and small businesses, the outdoor dining program has shown the vast potential of public space and how we can better utilize our curbs for community use.
August 7, 2023
Andrea Woodner–a sculptor trained as an architect and a native New Yorker–has a vision for an organization that can transform the life of the city by connecting city agencies with the burgeoning design community. She names it "Design Trust for Public Space" to reflect the mission of bringing design expertise and design thinking to the public realm.
The Design Trust's inaugural project – conducted in partnership with the NYC Department of Design & Construction and Brooklyn Public Library – focused on bringing design excellence to each and every branch of the Brooklyn Public Library system.
Eight years before PlaNYC, the Design Trust produces a set of high performance guidelines to make city buildings more energy-efficient and environmentally-responsible.
The South Jamaica Branch Library was the first building designed and constructed using the Design Trust's High Performance Building Guidelines.
The High Line is a derelict piece of urban infrastructure scheduled for demolition. Our feasibility study leads to the City's decision to preserve and transform the elevated railway into public open space.
The winners of the first Photo Urbanism fellowship are the photography team of Cook+Jenshel, who focus on documenting the city's waterfront.
Ten months after we released our feasibility study for the High Line, Mayor Bloomberg's administration requests a Certificate of Interim Use to railbank the High Line, effectively rescinding the outstanding demolition order.
As a result of our Diego Beekman project, tenants take ownership of 38 buildings in the South Bronx, billed as "the largest tenant takeover of a federal housing project in the country."
Problems & Possibilities outlines practical
solutions to the chaotic conditions and traffic congestion plaguing Times
Square, spurring a radical transformation of the “Crossroads of the World.”
Our High Performance Infrastructure Guidelines led to the City of New York establishing its commitment to green building practices by passing one of the country's first green building laws, Local Law 86 (LL86).
Garnering over 100,000 visitors in just 12 days, the Taxi 07 exhibit demonstrates to the world that it’s time to bring design innovation to New York City’s taxi fleet.
With an intimate talk between writers Malcolm Gladwell and Adam Gopnick at the Museum of Modern Art, the Design Trust launches the Design Trust Council, a new leadership circle.
A new program of pop-up dinner parties in public space is born with the first "Public Space Potluck" in the center of Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn.
With our Made in Midtown study, we succeed in shifting the debate about the Garment District, resulting in the City's decision to put their plan to force garment production out of the District on hold.
Five Borough Farm: Seeding the Future of Urban Agriculture in New York City establishes the nation's first set of metrics to measure the benefits of urban agriculture and recommends ways to expand urban agriculture in NYC.
The first-ever list celebrating 100 national leaders and organizations working at the intersection of design and service includes the Design Trust at spot #13!
After two years of design and development, the first Taxi of Tomorrow vehicles hit the streets of NYC on October 31st, delighting passengers and drivers alike.
The Energetic City request for proposals attracts over 90 proposals to give life to the city by connecting people through innovative design informed by the needs and aspirations of community users.
The Design Trust issues the groundbreaking policy principles and research, Under the Elevated: Reclaiming Space, Connecting Communities, unleashing the tremendous potential of the millions of square feet below elevated transit infrastructure in NYC.
We received the Olmsted Medal from the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Design Trust, in partnership with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, issues Laying the Groundwork, the first comprehensive design guidelines for retail and other ground-floor uses in affordable housing developments.
Design Trust played a major role in building support for the Intro. 1109 Pedestrian Plaza Legislation. The new bill gives the NYC Department of Transportation the authority to manage and regulate pedestrian plazas throughout the city, without banning any category of activity.
We received the Frederic Schwartz Community Development Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York State.
On April 26, 2017, we unveiled Public for All: Rethinking Shared Space in NYC, an open call for project ideas to ensure New York City’s public realm remains truly public. For Public for All—the Design Trust’s 10th Request for Proposals in 22 years—we sought innovative ideas for creating more accessible, resourceful public spaces and sustainable models for their operation and maintenance to strengthen the voice of communities and enliven neighborhoods.
We received the Corporate & Institutional Achievement Award of the 2017 National Design Awards from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.
On May 17, 18The El-Space Forum brought together experts from across North America to advance the emerging field of planning and designing "el-space", laying the groundwork for the El-Space Toolkit
Working with Council Member Rafael L. Espinal Jr. and Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, the Design Trust for Public Space has contributed to efforts for new legislations aiming to put New York City at the forefront of the urban agriculture movement in the United States. Read more
Speaker Corey Johnson and City Council member Carlina Rivera allocated $680K in the FY20 City Capital Budget for the Opening of the Edge prototype installation at the NYCHA Lillian Wald Houses! Read more
Design Trust was awarded a two-year grant of $117,500 from Governor Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative through the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) in support of our Equitable Public Space Fellowship program.
The Design Trust for Public Space and the NYC Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) launched the El-Space Toolkit at the Center for Architecture hosted by AIANY Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, attended by practitioners from Boston, Toronto and New York City. Watch the full launch video and download the toolkit here
Matthew joins Design Trust as it celebrates 25 years of unlocking the potential of New York City’s shared spaces and brings valuable expertise to help guide the nonprofit into its next chapter as we together navigate this unprecedented and challenging time ahead for NYC's public realm. Read the Announcement.
Design Trust for Public Space launches its 11th RFP cycle with a focus on health equity and the built environment. Meet the Winners.
Photo Urbanism Fellow Barnabas Crosby’s Work is Showcased in Times Square Over New Year’s Eve. View the final exhibition featured in the Brooklyn Public Library here.
From the Design Trust for Public Space supported by a grant from NYC Department of Small Business Services, the publication explores best policy practices for public space governance in under-resourced neighborhoods. Explore the Toolkit.
The Design Trust for Public Space collaborates with SITU, an architectural practice centered on social and creative impact, on a major, citywide effort to connect artists to the potential of public space, through new partnerships and infrastructure. Learn More Here.
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust announce a grant of $3.2 million over three years for the Fund for Public Housing to create and activate green space at four NYCHA public housing developments, supported by the Design Trust for Public Space and benefiting 14,000 residents in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Learn more about the resident-led participatory design process.
As the City works to create a permanent Open Restaurants Program , the Alfresco NYC coalition, led by the Design Trust for Public Space, Regional Plan Association, and Tri-State Transportation Campaign, released an extensive report, “The Future of Outdoor Dining in New York City.” listing design guidelines and policy recommendations for outdoor dining installations, based on months of site visits, roundtable discussions, research, and individual interviews.
The Design Trust for Public Space hosted a one-day convening bringing together urban planners, city officials, neighborhood advocates, and public health experts to center health equity in the design and planning of New York City. This special event elevated important conversations about community health, environmental justice, social resilience, and design excellence as core drivers of how New Yorkers, especially those most vulnerable, can thrive, beginning an open, inclusive call to action for New York City's next chapter. Watch here.
Design Trust Photo Urbanism Fellow Elliott Golden presents a case study of three vacant lots, using a combination of mixed-media collages and photographs that document the distinct, but related, histories of the vacancies, their current condition, and the people and organizations advocating for more equitable and restorative uses of the land. On display at the Brooklyn Public Library New Lots Branch in July 2023
For the first time since the Covid-19 lockdown, our beloved public space potlucks returned with a communal dinner at at the new Gotham Park (formerly Brooklyn Bridge Manhattan!) Free and open to all, Public Space Potlucks gather urban enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds together for a shared meal and an opportunity to learn more about current public space projects.
City Council voted yes on a permanent Open Restaurants bill. With the Alfresco NYC coalition, Design Trust has been advocating for clear design guidelines for the long-term program and how we can better utilize our curbs for community use beyond the emergency pandemic measures.
Green Space Connections project unveils a new community mural at NYCHA’s Patterson Houses in the Bronx, the latest in a series of events empowering New York City Housing Authority residents to design their own community spaces.