Streets Ahead

We envision a more vibrant, equitable streetscape for New York City.

Overview

Streets Ahead is a year-long effort advancing ideas and proposals to envision a more vibrant, equitable streetscape. Over the past year, the Forum has hosted field studies, local dialogues, and international exchanges to catalyze new ideas for New York’s streets.

The last two years in New York have shown the tremendous capacity of our city streets.

As the City was struck by COVID-19, we saw seismic shifts in the fabric of our neighborhoods. Street life suffered as New Yorkers stayed home, e-commerce soared, businesses and bustling retail corridors shuttered, and transit emptied. Yet neighborhood streets became a site of support for New Yorkers. Mutual aid networks distributed food and activated community fridges. Demonstrators marched in support of the Movement for Black Lives. Artists memorialized friends and neighbors lost. Our streets also became sites to socialize, dine, exercise, and play.

We show our values on our streets.

In one of the most densely populated cities in the country, our streets are our greatest opportunity for public space and public benefit. We believe that equity means that every New Yorker has safe and dignified streetscapes, healthy and reliable transportation options, and accessible public amenities like libraries, schools, parks, and healthcare facilities.

To achieve this, we decided to catalyze new ideas for New York City streets in 2023 and 2030. We wanted to illustrate what could be done under the leadership of a visionary two-term mayor, and what could be done tomorrow.

Five Routes to a Thriving City

We are excited to unveil our new platform of ideas, Five Routes to a Thriving City!

Created in collaboration with Working Groups of nearly 50 New Yorkers, these ideas envision New York’s streets through the lenses of Commerce, Culture, Climate, Care and Continuity to inspire our City to think big for the future of our streets. This platform is meant to serve as a hopeful provocation and a tool to work together to achieve the city we want to live in. Join us in imagining the future of New York’s streets and in charting the path forward.

Five Routes

Commerce

Streets can help revitalize our city’s small business community and support the economic recovery of the city.

Culture

Streets can support cultural expression and creative activation.

Climate

Streets can help New York City confront the climate crisis.

Care

Streets can center safety, care, and healing for New Yorkers of all ages, races, and abilities.

Continuity

Streets can build connected communities.

How We Worked

In May 2021, we released our Streets Ahead Call for Action. We asked our Fellows: How can we transform streets to build connected communities? Following the Call for Action, we convened interdisciplinary Working Groups to advance a set of visionary proposals and tools for a more vibrant, equitable streetscape.

Working Groups

Meet our group of designers, planners, artists, and advocates with extensive experience shaping the streetscapes of our city.

Events

06.22.22
On June 22, come celebrate the release of our ideas on how to shape future streets for care.
06.08.22
On June 8, join us for a roundtable discussion on shaping future streets for climate.
05.18.22
On May 18, join to discuss shaping future streets for commerce.
05.04.22
On May 4, join us to discuss shaping future streets for culture.
03.29.22
On May 29, join us and PCA-STREAM to discuss an ambitious proposal to transform the Champs Élysées.
03.10.22
On March 10, join us for a discussion on climate-resilient streets in Medellín.
02.24.22
Join us and Global Designing Cities Initiative to discuss streets in Fortaleza.
01.20.22
On January 20, to discuss street design in Barcelona that creates safe and sustainable neighborhoods.
12.02.21
Join us for a tour of Moynihan Train Hall, followed by drinks and discussion on new plans for the surrounding neighborhood.
11.19.21
Join us on Broadway in Manhattan with Emily Weidenhof and Jonathan Hawkins and our Streets Ahead Working Groups.
11.09.21
Join Urban Design Forum and the New York City Department of Transportation for a presentation of the Broadway Vision Plan with Emily Weidenhof.
10.21.21
Join us in Bed-Stuy with Lynette Battle and our Streets Ahead Working Groups while they explore existing streetscape activations and future opportunities for a more people-centered public realm.
10.14.21
Join us in Jackson Heights with Leslie Ramos, Jim Burke, and our Streets Ahead Working Groups while they explore existing streetscape activations and future opportunities for a more people-centered public realm.
10.08.21
Join us in the Meatpacking District with Evan Sweet and our Streets Ahead Working Groups while they explore existing streetscape activations and future opportunities for a more people-centered public realm.
10.29.21
Join Urban Design Forum for a presentation on the SoHo Broadway Public Realm Vision Plan with Mark Dicus, Mike Lydon, and Rebecca Karp.
10.13.21
Join Urban Design Forum and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership for a presentation of the Downtown Brooklyn Public Realm Action Plan with Regina Myer, Kai-Uwe Bergmann, and Claire Weisz.
09.14.21
Join us for a neighborhood walking tour in the Lower East Side with Ryan Gilliam, David Vega-Barachowitz, Jonathan Molloy, Alejandro Epifanio Torres, and John D’Onofrio.
07.29.21
Join us for a neighborhood walking tour in Hudson Square with WIP Collaborative and Hudson Square BID. 

About Next New York 

The Next New York series is an annual inquiry into a defining issue facing the city. 

Each year, through local dialogues, international exchanges, and interdisciplinary working groups, we work to catalyze new ideas for New York’s built environment. Ideas that emerge inform programs, collaborations with city agencies, and pilot projects to inspire fresh thinking for the future of the city.