Photo: Andy B. Zipper

We announce the creation of the Equitable Public Space Fellowship Program to support the next generation of urban designers, architects, landscape architects, and planners in contributing to complex public space challenges in our global city. As the inaugural Fellow, the Public Space Fellow at the Design Trust will join our team for an intensive one-year fellowship to begin in June 2016, and end in July 2017. 

The Public Space Fellow will become a part of the Design Trust community, interact with project fellowspartners and collaborators, and work in conjunction with Design Trust staff.

In 2015, the American Institute of Architects reported 2% Black, 4% Asian, and 1% Latino representation in the profession, along with 18% women. As we survey the field and NYC’s diverse neighborhoods, there is a growing need to reflect the people we serve. Our unique project model opens dialogue and develops collaborative relationships between the public and private sector to achieve innovative solutions together. We have found that greater diversity among project participants develops empathy and leads to more meaningful and sustainable outcomes for all New Yorkers. We seek to advance the conversation around diversity in the field and create a model for bringing more voices, skill sets, and life experiences into the practice of design for public space.

We will select a promising recent graduate or post graduate whose life and work experience contribute significantly to design expertise and design thinking in our work with community based organizations and public agencies. We seek applications from outstanding candidates from various backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and other under-represented groups who are entrepreneurial and passionate about NYC’s shared spaces and transforming the city’s landscape.

The Design Trust for Public Space is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the future of public space in New York City. Our projects bring together city agencies, community groups, and private sector experts to make a lasting impact—through design—on how New Yorkers live, work and play.

The benefits of the Fellowship include:

  • Impact: Opportunity to have a real impact on New York City’s public spaces through Design Trust projects.
  • Cross-sector experience: Exposure to a range of organizations and individuals working in the public realm in NYC, including urban planning, design, community organizations, non-profits, government, and private entities, and a first hand look at how systems work in New York to affect the public spaces in the city.
  • Public exposure: Opportunity to contribute ideas and expertise on issues in the field through the Design Trust Blog, as well as contribute to and be recognized in Design Trust publications, events, and public work
  • Networking: Network of over 90 Design Trust Fellows, and opportunity to participate in quarterly meetings tackling tough design issues in the city. The Design Trust’s strong local ties with many types of designers and urbanists in New York make this position ideal for someone looking to build a professional career in New York City. 
  • Hands-on professional development: The Fellow will work primarily with Program staff as well as with Managers of Development and Communications. Additionally, the Design Trust will support the Fellow’s participation in local conferences related to current projects and the Fellow’s interests. The Fellow will have the opportunity to present their work with the Design Trust to the Board of Directors at their June 2017 meeting.
  • Mentorship: The Fellow will meet bi-weekly with the Director of Programs and monthly with the Executive Director to facilitate the Fellow’s learning and reflection, and tailor the Fellowship to their interests and career goals.
  • Salary: $40,000 for the year along with full healthcare benefits. The selected candidate will enter into an employment contract with the Design Trust for a stated term of one year to perform the work subject to specific terms and conditions.

Core Areas of Learning and Work

The Fellow will be immersed in many aspects of the Design Trust’s work, and assist with a variety of tasks during the year, including, but not limited to:


The Public Space Fellowship will be a full-time position located at the Design Trust office, to be completed during working hours (Design Trust office hours: 9:30 am – 5:30 pm) with occasional evening and weekend event attendance as needed.

Application Guidelines

The Public Space Fellow is a self-starter with a keen interest in how design shapes the underused spaces of New York City. Applicants who are from populations historically underrepresented in the design profession are strongly encouraged to apply.

The application deadline is Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at 11:59 Eastern Daylight Time. Incomplete applications or materials that do not meet the following criteria will not be considered. Applicants will be notified by Monday, May 16, 2016.


Applicants must be eligible to work legally in the United States. They should have completed an Undergraduate or Graduate degree in one of the following or related fields within the last 3 years:

  • Architecture 
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Studies
  • Government 
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Public Policy
  • Real Estate and Development 
  • Sustainability
  • Urban Design
  • Urban Planning

Materials to Submit

All application materials must be submitted to by midnight on Wednesday, April 13, 2016.

Please email the following materials in one PDF with the title “[LASTNAME, FIRST NAME]: Public Space Fellowship Application”:

  • Resume [maximum 1 page]
  • Work Sample [2-3 pages, can include writing and/or demonstration of design abilities]
  • 1 letter of recommendation [submitted directly to the Design Trust via mail or email listed above]
  • 2 references
  • Written Responses to the following questions:
    • Question 1 [300 word limit]: What drives you to apply to the Public Space Fellowship, and how do you think it will contribute to your long-term goals?
    • Question 2 [300 word limit]: Describe a challenge you’ve seen or experienced with a particular public space; how would you address it?
    • Question 3 [300 word limit]: Tell us about a time you worked with people who held varying viewpoints; how did you bring them together?
    • Question 4 [300 word limit]: Describe how your background and experience will contribute to the Design Trust’s commitment to diversity.
Equal Opportunity and Anti-Harassment Policy
The Design Trust prohibits discrimination against and harassment of any applicant for employment because of race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, veteran status or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal or state or local law.