Forefront is a new initiative led by the Urban Design Forum dedicated to cultivating emerging leaders in urban design, development and policy.

Beginning in 2016, the Forum will invite 20 individuals under the age of 40 each year to become Forefront Fellows. Forefront Fellows will be invited to participate in dedicated conversations and site visits in New York City around different themes. Fellows will meet monthly, share projects and receive feedback from their peers and established leaders in the field.

In addition, Forefront Fellows will enjoy two free years of Forum membership, with benefits such as invitations to exclusive roundtables, tours and dinners in New York City; a monthly bulletin of Fellows’ news and updates; and unparalleled access to our global network of leading urbanists. Meet the 2016 class of Forefront Fellows.

2016 Theme

Our inaugural program, Urban Experience Design, explores how new civic technologies are transforming the management and operations of the public realm. In monthly programs, participants will explore evolving technological advancements that aim to improve urban life. Forefront Fellows will confront questions such as: How can we use technology to create tangible improvements to the experience of the city? How can big data be applied to build a more dynamic, equitable, and resilient city? Can we build a Smart City without adopting top down or proprietary approaches?

Who Should Apply

Forefront Fellows are architects, landscape architects, planners, developers, public officials, civic leaders, UX designers, scholars and journalists under the age of 40 who are advancing dynamic, equitable and resilient cities.

The Forefront initiative reflects the Forum’s commitment to promoting the achievements of traditionally underrepresented groups in planning and design; women, people of color, and professionals with experience in diverse community settings are strongly encouraged to apply.

Candidates for the founding class of 2016 must be under the age of 40 as of December 31, 2017.

Submission Requirements

1.      Member Application

2.      CV

3.      Statement of Interest

In no more than 500 words, please discuss your interest in participating in the Forum’s activities, as well as recent work, research, publications and accolades that demonstrate your commitment to building dynamic, equitable, and resilient cities.

4.      Nominating Letter

Candidates are strongly encouraged to seek a letter of nomination by a current Fellow of the Urban Design Forum. Candidates without a Fellow nomination are welcome to submit a professional or academic recommendation.

In no more than 500 words, nominating letters should address candidates’ contributions to the fields of urban design, planning, policy and development; promise of future achievement; and potential contributions to the work of the Forum.

How to Apply

The application process for the class of 2016 is now closed. Please check back in March 2017.