Access to public space—parks, plazas, corridors, streets, and preserves—is a fundamental human right. It is not a “nice to have,” but an essential ingredient in what makes us healthy and happy. The Design Trust for Public Space advocates for this right, for every New Yorker; and it believes that doing so in partnership with residents and civic leaders leads to the best, most equitable, results.

Trust by Design, an ambitious two-month campaign, supports public space as a driver of a healthy, equitable, and resilient New York City. The Design Trust for Public Space intends to use this initiative to listen, to dream, and to make big plans. As some question the future role of cities, we aim to ask, instead: who will the city serve? In the course of our recovery and renewal, we, with our partners, will be working on the following goals and big ideas. By joining this campaign you’re joining a public space movement that’s focused on people, on design, and on trust.

Over the course of the Campaign, the Design Trust for Public Space will release more detailed thoughts about our goals and recommendations. We will be featuring guest contributors and great conversations with leaders. In advance, we’re releasing this list of draft recommendations for discussion and learning. They are meant to be early hypotheses of what’s next. What do you think? See the full document here. Get in touch with us at:

Goal One: Raise awareness for public space as a driver of health and racial equity. Develop public space policies in support of the long-term health of every New Yorker.

Recommendation 1.A – Grow models of inclusive governance over public space, such as expanding the use of participatory budgeting or amplifying community leadership organizations.

Recommendation 1.B – Create new governing partnerships and policies between a city’s public health infrastructure and entities that control the built environment, such as planning and transportation.

Recommendation 1.C – Elevate research and policy assessments that demonstrate how public space can build health and racial equity.

Goal Two: Ensure every New Yorker has equitable access to quality public space and a voice in shaping those public spaces.

Recommendation 2.A – Activate and expand access to underutilized and unexpected public spaces to close the access gap.

Recommendation 2.B – Take bold, decisive action on the future of streets; claim this public realm for all New Yorkers.

Recommendation 2.C – Connect the growing investment and research in large-scale climate resilience infrastructure with new public space and social infrastructure.

Goal Three: Put public space in service of recovery and resilience, giving businesses and residents the opportunity to thrive.

Recommendation 3.A – Pass a federal, state, and/or local jobs program with a core focus of public space management and stewardship, giving opportunity and training to thousands of workers.

Recommendation 3.B – Imagine new and expanded models of public space management, growing the strength of BID and CBO organizations, and imagining new models of community management.

Recommendation 3.C – Initiate fellowship and job training programs to grow underrepresented groups in the design, planning, and policy fields.