Arts & Culture

Fellows ↓
Events ↓
On August 18, our Forefront Fellows went on a retreat to Newburgh meet with local community leaders and city officials, and discuss challenges facing the city's immigrant communities.
On August 10 we were joined by Sharon Davis, Michelle de la Uz, Brad Lander, Gita Nandan, and Andrea Parker as they proposed leveraging development in Gowanus to expand the neighborhood's green infrastructure network and preserve the area's cultural assets.
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 February 16 the Forum hosted a tour of the Public Design Commission Archives! Some of the highlights included a maintaining budget from Robert Moses, and some rather peculiar street signs!
In the last two weeks, New Yorkers have taken to the streets to defend our city’s values of diversity and inclusion. In this turbulent political climate, public spaces like Times Square are critical to our democracy: as places where people can safely speak their minds and agitate in defense of their families and neighbors.

DUMBO Waterfront

Event ▻ Tours
On November 2, the Urban Design Forum featured an exclusive behind the scenes look at the latest two development sites on the DUMBO waterfront: Empire Stores and One John Street. Click for a full recap and photos from the tour!
For Garvin, a great city is a dynamic, constantly changing place that residents and their leaders can reshape to satisfy their demands. Looking at several North American and European cities, from New York to Seattle and Paris to Madrid, Garvin examines how these cities have adapted and transformed over time.
Spontaneous Interventions: design actions for the common good was first presented as the exhibition of the U.S. Pavilion at the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale (Fall 2012). It documents the nascent movement of designers acting on their own initiative to solve problematic urban situations, creating new opportunities and amenities for the public. Provisional, improvisational, guerrilla, More

Barclays Center Tour

Event ▻ Tours
Three months leading up to its inauguration by Jay-Z, the Forum hosted a tour with Forest City Ratner of the Barclays Center, the arena at the heart of the Atlantic Yards project in Downtown Brooklyn. Winthrop Hoyt, Assistant Vice President of Development in charge of the arena project, sorted through the project’s history, from the More
Urban Design Week was a public festival created to engage New Yorkers in the fascinating and complex issues of the public realm, and to celebrate the streetscapes, sidewalks, and public spaces at the heart of city life. At its heart was By the City/ For the City, a crowdsourced design project that gathered more than More
In 2011 the Urban Design Forum invited architects, planners, artists, designers, and students around the world to participate in By the City / For the City, a collaborative re-imagining of New York City’s public realm.
On September 14, members gathered for the second behind-the-scenes tour this summer, guided by architectural historian Dan Okrent, author of Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center. Okrent began the tour at the Top of the Rock, where he discussed John D. Rockefeller’s aspirations to build one of Gotham’s greatest landmarks. Members were then led More
On August 19, the Forum hosted an exclusive tour and discussion of the recently re-designed Lincoln Center and Alice Tully Hall led by Elizabeth Diller and Daniel Brodsky. Elizabeth Diller began the tour in the lobby of Alice Tully Hall, a sculptural concert hall and university building for the Juilliard School that was recently completed More
Proposals ↓
The NYC subway system is a vital part of New Yorkers’ daily lives, but the public’s experience with it is too often ugly, brutish, and not short enough. While proximity to a great public realm in New York is the single most important factor for value in the city (location location location), the demeaning environment of most of our public transit infrastructure is alienating, and represents a missed opportunity to create an environment that is valued by the public and thereby well maintained.

Gowanus Field Station

Proposal ▻ Maintaining
The Gowanus Field Station embodies hands-on learning: it is an outdoor classroom designed to also be a storm-water “eco-machine” that will host a green roof, sit next to a bioswale, capture rainwater for reuse, and use a vegetated rain garden to clean sink water before discharging to the canal.
Vacant buildings and storefronts are detrimental to the health and vibrancy of our city. Too often landlords do not take advantage of the incredible opportunity that their vacant spaces could provide to artists, entrepreneurs and small organizations. We need to begin harnessing the potential of underutilized space citywide.
Publications ↓
News ↓
Fellows in the News
Tommy Craig announced the deal for Shake Shack's new flagship restaurant, featuring office space and a test kitchen, in the West Village.
Fellows in the News
Madelyn Wils praises the Whitney's proposal for a permanent art installation on Pier 52 for reflecting the area's artistic history.
Fellows in the News
Marion Weiss and Michael Manfred explain their work on The Bridge at Cornell Tech intended to facilitate collaboration between students and start-ups.
Fellows in the News
Michael Sorkin scrutinizes the privatization of public space and proposes using the private money for Pier 55 to transform the parking lots on Pier 40.
Fellows in the News
Leni Schwendinger kicked-off reSITE's 2017 conference, In/Visible City, with a walk-through Prague at night to demonstrate how after-dark strategies can yield various equitable benefits.
Fellows in the News
Miriam Peterson and Nathan Rich designed Siteless Tower as a critique of recent development in New York City for the Center for Architecture's 5x5 Participatory Provocations.
Fellows in the News
Tim Tompkins praises Once Upon A Place as their most timely installation in support of the country's immigrant and refugee communities.
Fellows in the News
Christopher J. Nolan details the dilemma between preserving the original path leading up to Belvedere Castle and designing a more accessible incline to meet federal requirements for access for disabled people.
Fellows in the News
Lord Norman Foster opened his new archive and international research center in Madrid to encourage future designers to address critical issues such as climate change.
Fellows in the News
Catherine Seavitt Nordenson has been awarded a Graham Foundation Grant for her publication on the modernist landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.
Fellows in the News
Justin Garrett Moore and Keri Butler announced the Public Design Commission's winners of the 2017 Excellence in Design Awards, including work by many of our Fellows.
Fellows in the News
Ken Greenberg gave a walking tour of Toronto's "the Kings" to show the benefits of relaxed zoning laws on the community.
Fellows in the News
Richard Dattner and Claire Weisz's Garage and Salt Shed project has been selected as one of the top 10 most sustainable projects of 2017.
Fellows in the News
Carlos Arnaiz is redesigning the Pasudeco Center, an iconic sugar mill in the Philippines, into a mixed-use community hub.
Fellows in the News
Deborah Berke sits down with comedian Michael Ian Black for a conversation about the role of architecture in everyday life.
Fellows in the News
Howard Husock argues that the CPB is superfluous with for-profit media now offering ethnically and ideologically diverse programming.
Fellows in the News
Miriam Peterson and Nathan Rich are designing two environmentally efficient art galleries in the Lower East Side.
Fellows in the News
WXY will design the "Made in NY Campus" in Sunset Park as part of the city's larger effort to support the film and fashion industries.
Fellows in the News
Justin Davidson reviews the redesign of Astor Place by Fellow Claire Weisz as a "distinguished" and "self-effacing" design providing a profusion of possibilities for pedestrians.
Fellows in the News
Elliott Maltby and Gita Nandan from Thread Collective offer a field guide to fences throughout New York City to show how the barriers we use define our spaces and ourselves, from the mundane to the maddening.
Fellows in the News
Forum Board Members Paul Goldberger and Michael Sorkin recount their history with and the merits of Trump Tower in an interview with Jim O'Grady from WNYC.
Call for Ideas
How can we use design thinking, creative financing, new technology, and community organizing to maintain our physical and social infrastructure?
Fellows in the News
Adam Lubinsky facilitated the development of the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, a local effort to preserve affordable housing stock, open space, and the community's cultural heritage.
Fellows in the News
Navid Maqami of S9ARCHITECTURE leads the construction of The New York Wheel, the key to attracting tourists to Staten Island.
Features
Christopher Beardsley sat down with Kathryn Gustafson, Rob Rogers, Marion Weiss, and Skip Graffam to discuss their visions for renewing the National Mall.
Features
Will a tech campus accomplish just what Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s 1969 plan could not—endow the island with an identity beyond a clever housing scheme and integrate it into the everyday lives of New Yorkers?
Features
Urban design was charged with elevated responsibility as the towers tragically fell on September 11, 2001. Ten years later, Vishaan Chakrabarti, Alex Garvin, and Peter Walker reflect on the Ground Zero's reconstruction.