Since our founding in 1995, the Design Trust has solicited project proposals from government agencies, nonprofit organizations, community groups, and individuals through an open Request for Proposals (RFP). 

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. The Design Trust encouraged applicants to consider the following questions:

  • How can we design with and for all people, regardless of age, ability/disability, gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, language, sexuality, and geographic location?
  • How can we ensure that all who use public space—especially those who lack access to other places of rest, recreation, and connection—have substantial roles in decision- making and clear, readily accessible paths to civic participation?
  • How can public space and related processes adapt as needs and communities change?
  • How do we alter our perception of collective responsibility and broaden our understanding of the term ‘resource’ to explore new models for partnership, stewardship, governance, management, and maintenance of public space?
  • How can atypical shared spaces (i.e. privately owned, virtual, or unused space) be claimed and developed as community assets?
  • How do we meaningfully and realistically evaluate public space performance?

Out of 105 initial responses from community groups, city agencies, and individuals across the five boroughs, Design Trust invited 30 proposers to submit full citywide research, design, and planning proposals. On July 11, 2017, an independent jury chose two winners from five finalist projects. Watch the selection process.

The Jurors include: 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.

The Winners: 

(In alphabetical order)

  • Community Land Trust as a Model for Public Space—South Bronx Unite, in collaboration with New York City Community Land Initiative and the Mott Haven-Port Morris Community Land Stewards
  • When the Going Gets Tough…Addressing Equity & Quality of Life in Community-Managed Public Spaces—The Neighborhood Plaza Program of the Horticultural Society of New York in collaboration with Uptown Grand Central, NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) Plaza Partner managing 125th Street Plaza in East Harlem. 

Learn more about the winners.

The other three finalists: 

(in alphabetical order):

  • Return of the Stanton Building—The Stanton Task Force including Green Map System, Sara Roosevelt Park Community Coalition, and University Settlement
  • StalledNYC!—Joel Sanders, Principal of Joel Sanders Architect and Professor of Architecture at the Yale School of Architecture, in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects New York
  • Yes Loitering—Chat Travieso, in collaboration with Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco)

Learn more about the finalists.

The semi-finalists: 

(in alphabetical order):

  • By the People, For the People: Planning and Programming Inclusive and Equitable Public Spaces—New York City Department of Small Business Services
  • Evaluating Social Justice in Public Space: Indicators of Diversity, Equity, and Stewardship for All—Public Space Research Group, Center for Human Environments, Graduate Center, CUNY
  • Lakou NOU “Our Yard”—Haiti Cultural Exchange
  • Living Stage NYC—Superhero Clubhouse
  • Mobile play:ground NYC—play:ground NYC
  • Public Safe Vending Spaces—The Street Vendor Project
  • Reintegrating Memorialization into City Life—DeathLAB at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation
  • Strengthening Civic Capacity through Stewardship Mapping, Convenings, and Tools—USDA Forest Service, NYC Urban Field Station
  • The Maritime Education, Recreation, and Cultural Zones of NYC—Staten Island Urban Center
  • Untitled—Queens Public Library

Public For All is made possible by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and with support from the Design Trust Founder's Circle, including Hugo Barreca, Agnes Gund, Kitty Hawks, Sophia W. Healy, Camila Pastor and Stephen Maharam, Claire Weisz, and Andrea Woodner.

Additional support for the Design Trust is provided in part by the New York State Council on the Arts and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Public for All RFP:


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Past Project RFPs

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