On December 5, our Forefront Fellows explored how we can create circular urban systems in New York City.

Spurred by a culture of production, consumption, and disposal, resources flow in and out of New York City in an exploitative and unsustainable linear model. A victim of its own success, the city now grapples with the effects of climate change it produced. The headlines are frightening: rising temperatures, vulnerable coasts, plastic oceans, and fragile food networks threaten our quality of life; but the future does not have to be bleak.

Circular and regenerative models of urban development, waste management, and food production have already been successfully adopted in cities and corporations around the globe. These profitable models demonstrate how a life-cycle and systems-view can reduce resource extraction, while also restoring environmental assets.

Josh Margul, Jennifer McDonnell, Clare Miflin, Michael Offerman, Zara Fina Stasi, and our Forefront Fellows hosted an evening exploring the future of urban systems. Drawing upon local and global case studies, they discussed approaches to and co-benefits of applying circular models to New York City’s energy, waste, and water systems.


Event Photos ↓


Guest Policy ↓

The Urban Design Forum promotes conversation between invited civic leaders, designers, developers and advocates. Forum Fellows are welcome to invite one additional guest to attend.


Fall Forefront Events ↓

10/3 Invisible Networks
Digser Abreu, NYCHA
Rhonda-Lee Davis, Lantern Community Services
Dorraine Duncan, NYCEDC
Lydia Gaby, HR&A Advisors
Gloria Lau, Stantec
Manuela Powidayko, NYC DCP

10/24 Public Health
Cyrus Blankinship, NYU Marron Institute
Eileen Chen, Dattner
Gregory Harasym, MTA
Catherine Joseph, 3XN Architects
Amritha Mahesh, NYC DCP
Kathy Mu, Grimshaw
Jill Schmidt, Brooklyn Navy Yard

11/14 Adaptive Systems
Abraham Bendheim, Studio Gang
Renée Crowley, NYC Compost Project
Annemarie Gray, NYCEDC
Mike Harrington, New School
Pallavi Mantha, Arup
Mallory Taub, Gensler

12/5 Utopian Systems
Lida Aljabar, NYC HPD
Brandon Cappellari, BIG
Michael Izzo, Hines
Amy Macdonald, Thornton Tomasetti
Rebecca Macklis, NYC PDC
Autumn Visconti, BIG

Meet the 2019 Class of Forefront Fellows ►


Partners ↓

The Urban Design Forum is pleased to partner with Hines and Thornton Tomasetti to present this event.


About Forefront ↓

Forefront is an annual initiative cultivating emerging leaders in urban design, development and policy. This year’s theme, Turning the Heat, explores how urban practitioners can advance climate justice principles across New York City.

This program is made possible through the support of Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and our Director’s Circle. To learn more, please contact Daniel McPhee, Executive Director, 646-928-0553 or daniel@urbandesignforum.org.