The Design Trust for Public Space unlocks the potential of New York City’s shared, civic spaces through the advancement of new research and collaborative projects aimed to improve the well-being of residents throughout the city. Central to our mission and program is our request for proposals (RFP), which solicits ideas to realize projects that address a key public space concern in New York City. Organized around a central theme, each RFP cycle is grounded by extensive community outreach and engagement, ensuring an alignment with community needs and interests. Final proposals are implemented with the guidance and support of the Design Trust alongside a range of partners, including city agencies, stakeholder groups, and private sector experts. Over the course of its 25-year history, the Design Trust has completed many projects across the five boroughs, impacting thousands of New Yorkers.

This cycle, the Design Trust RFP—The Restorative City—is dedicated to exploring how public space and the built environment can be used as a tool to advance health equity, a concept which means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. Using our unique problem-seeking, and power-sharing model of project delivery, The Restorative City will support projects that seek to influence public policy, design practice, or development decisions and bring about powerful, city-wide changes and address the following key goals:. 

  • Demonstrate the impact of the built environment and design on public health

  • Elevate health equity as a priority for public policy and design

  • Empower communities, especially those that have been historically disenfranchised by public policy, to become active participants in this process

We invited New York City community groups, non-profits, design firms, advocates, activists, public agencies, and individuals across the five boroughs to submit proposals for research, design, and planning projects to unlock the potential of NYC’s shared spaces in ways that can improve health outcomes for everyone, but especially for communities who have been historically marginalized or under resourced. Meet the Winners.

Watch the 2023 Restorative City Convening, 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.

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The Restorative City RFP:


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Past Project RFPs

Public for All: Rethinking Shared Space in NYC


Selection Jury: Kitty Hawks, Kitty Hawks Interiors, Design Trust Founder’s Circle; Walter Hood, Hood Design Studio; Patti S. Lubin, Office of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand; Kerry A. McLean, Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation; Zack McKown, Tsao & McKown Architects, Design Trust Board [non-voting]; Justin Garrett Moore, NYC Public Design Commission; José Serrano-McClain, NYC Mayor’s Office of Tech + Innovation; Claire Weisz, WXY Architecture + Urban Design, Design Trust Founder’s Circle; and Andrea Woodner, Design Trust Founder and President Emeritus.

Selected Projects: Building community wealth and well-being in Mott Haven-Port Morris; When the Going Gets Tough…Addressing Equity & Quality of Life in Community-Managed Public Spaces which became Neighborhood Commons

The Energetic City


Selection Jury: Theodore S. Berger (non-voting), Paul Herzan, Kemi Ilesanmi, Natalie Jeremijenko, Jeff Merritt, Damon Rich and Tim Tompkins (non-voting)

Selected Partners: Jane Greengold with the support of New York City Housing AuthorityThe New York City Department of Housing, Preservation & DevelopmentQueens Museum and the New York City Department of Parks & RecreationStaten Island Arts

Selected Projects: Laying the Groundwork, The World's Park, Future Culture, Opening the Edge

2009 RFP


Selection Jury: Hugo Barreca, Deborah Berke, Jim Biber, Victor Body-Lawson, Tessa Huxley, Eric Rothman

Selected Projects: Five Borough Farm; Made in Midtown

2007 RFP


Selection Jury: John Alschuler, Laurie Kerr, William Menking, Sylvia Smith, Claire Weisz

Selected Projects: Park Design for the 21st Century; Reinventing Grand Army Plaza

2004 RFP


Selection Jury: Vishaan Chakrabarti, Candace Damon, Kitty Hawks, Tom Jost, Andy Stone

Selected Project: Sustainable New York City

2002 RFP


Selection Jury: Alison Bauer, Ken Greenberg, Maxine Griffith, Peter Rothschild, Marilyn Taylor

Selected Projects: Greening Infrastructure in the Right-of-Way; Long Island City: Connecting the Arts 

2000 RFP


Selection Jury: Robert Fox, Maxine Griffith, Yael Melamede, Mark Robbins, Kevin Wolfe

Selected Projects: Reclaiming the High Line; Thresholds of Eib's Pond

1999 RFP


Selection Jury: Deborah Berke, Maxine Griffith, Signe Nielsen

Selected Projects: Implementing the High Performance Building Guidelines; Housing and Open Space

1998 RFP


Selection Jury: DD Allen, Deborah Berke, David Childs, Louise Harpman, Lionel McIntyre, Daniel Rose

Selected Projects: High Performance Building Guidelines; Mapping Early African American Settlements; Intermodal Transfer Improvement Project 

1996 RFP


Selection Jury: Max Bond, Mary Griffin, Raquel Ramati, Marilyn Taylor, Claire Weisz

Selected Projects: Designing for ChildrenDesigning for SecurityDiego Beekman Houses Design Workshop