Our Mission

We connect and inspire New Yorkers to design, build and care for a better city. 

Our Mission

Urban Design Forum connects and inspires New Yorkers to design, build and care for a better city. 

We are a member-powered organization of 1,000+ civic leaders committed to a more just future for our city. We believe the built environment—our neighborhoods, buildings, public spaces and infrastructure—shapes our city’s health, culture and economy. We bring together New Yorkers of diverse backgrounds and experiences to learn, debate, and design a vibrant city for all. 

We envision a city where every New Yorker can thrive in a healthy neighborhood, with a stable home, dignified workplace, safe commute, lively public spaces and dynamic arts and culture—and we believe everyone has a role to play in creating that city.

Our Approach

  • We convene courageous conversations to rally New York City leaders to rise to the challenges facing our city today. 
  • We invest in neighborhoods across the five boroughs and equip local leaders with resources to improve their communities. 
  • We partner with city government to shape public policy that improves health outcomes, economic opportunity, and quality of life. 
  • We nurture a new generation of diverse and informed leaders so that they can confront the challenges we will face in the future. 

Our Community

We aim to build a membership that represents the diversity of the city we serve. Our 1,000+ members, whom we call Fellows, work across the fields of planning, design, development, engineering, construction, law, public health, academia, arts & culture, and journalism. We welcome anyone to become a Fellow who shares our commitment to a more just city.

Our Values

  • We believe the design and development communities must address enduring injustices in New York City, such as housing, segregation, economic inequality, and environmental racism.
  • We believe New York should convene with and learn from international cities for pioneering and inspiring solutions to urban challenges.
  • We believe interdisciplinary cohorts of emerging leaders can empower more diverse leadership in the design and development professions.
  • We believe government agencies should develop a long-term vision for the built environment, rather than achieve short-term wins.
  • We believe decision-makers must build with, and not for, traditionally disenfranchised communities, such as women, people of color, people with disabilities, and low-wealth communities.
  • We believe the public should be mobilized around the value of design in achieving equity, inclusion, and sustainability in the built environment.