Forefront

Forefront is an annual initiative dedicated to cultivating emerging leaders in urban design, development and policy. Each year, 20 individuals under the age of 40 are selected as Forefront Fellows and participate in dedicated conversations and site visits around an annual theme. Fellows meet monthly, share projects, and receive feedback from their peers and other established leaders in the field.
Events ↓
On July 18, our Forefront Fellows met for the second event of the Fellowship to explore design projects that aim to foster agency and the integration of migrant communities in urban spaces.
On June 20, for the first Forefront roundtable of the year, we were joined by Doug Saunders, author of Arrival City, which inspired the German Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale and this year's Forefront program theme, and Max Hadler, Senior Health Advocacy Manager for the New York Immigration Coalition.
On May 23, the Forum welcomed our newest class of Forefront Fellows at the Museum of Chinese in America for orientation as they begin exploring how urban design can empower immigrant communities.
For the capstone of the Forefront Fellowship program, we visited Hudson Yards - the largest private real estate development project in the history of the US.
On February 21, 6 Forefront Fellows were invited to present individual projects on infrastructure and public space to their cohort and guest critic Miriam Roure, of Urban-X.
Our third Fellow spotlight session will feature five fellows working on projects impacting the city in a myriad of ways. While it is hard to find a common thread between the group, all in some way deal with the topics of civic technology, equity and public space.
The Lowline is a plan to use innovative solar technology to illuminate an historic trolley terminal on the Lower East Side of New York City. Join us for a tour of the Lowline Lab, a long-term open laboratory and technical exhibit designed to test and showcase how the Lowline will grow and sustain plants underground.
Our fifth Forefront Urban Experience Design event explores how crowdfunding technology is changing the way we build our cities. The evening will bring together two very different civic projects made possible by equally different crowdfunding platforms.
Environmental sensors are touted as a panacea for identifying, measuring and solving pressing urban problems. Our Forefront Fellows will take a deep dive into the new Internet of Things frontier with key figures in two cutting edge companies, Jeff Maki from Intersection and Alexandre Winter from Placemeter.
Spotlight events invite Forefront Fellows working in similar areas to present current projects for reflection and feedback from their peers. Our first spotlight event will focus on Fellows working to create new forms of meaningful community engagement. As our invited guest critic, Urban Design Forum Fellow and new Executive Director of the NYC Public Commission Justin Garret Moore will moderate a discussion following the presentations.
Urban Experience Design, our very first Forefront program series, will explore how new civic technologies are transforming the management and operations of the public realm, and debate how big data might be applied to build a more dynamic, equitable and resilient city. The series will kick off with an examination of new spatial analysis tools, and how they enable citizen participation and government transparency.
Publications ↓
Our inaugural Forefront class spent the past year meeting with Carto, Intersection, Kickstarter, Sidewalk Labs, and NYU CUSP to discuss how smart city technology is changing the way we experience and build cities. We are excited to publish the cohort's proposals, ideas and critiques on design in the digital era.