Introducing the Forefront Residency

We’re thrilled to launch the Forefront Residency, enabling Forefront Fellowship alumni to deepen their work toward building a more equitable city. 

Through this new annual offering, Urban Design Forum will support creative and socially engaged collaborations emerging from the Forefront Fellowship with micro-grant funding, technical assistance, and networking opportunities.

We invited our community of 200+ alumni to submit projects for the inaugural Forefront Residency. The robust response reflects the dynamic work our Fellows continue to develop, even years after their fellowship: In the South Bronx, Fellows are building a resource-sharing tool for urban growers. In Brownsville, Brooklyn, Fellows are piloting community programming on circular waste systems. Alumni from our 2016 fellowship on immigration are designing a new initiative to nurture belonging and celebrate diversity. And that’s just the start.

This year, the Forefront Residency will welcome 26 Fellows working on seven collaborative projects. Learn about the projects below, and stay tuned for more.

Special thanks to the alumni who served on the steering committee for this initiative: Betsy Daniel, Ishita Gaur, Kate Larsen, Rebecca Macklis, Catherine Ponte, Veronica Rivas Plaza, and Ebony Wiggins.


For Canners | Recycling Bin Redesign

The city needs support diverting recyclable materials from landfills, and public street bins are particularly challenging. Canners offer a valuable service by collecting recyclable bottles and cans across the city. They deserve more dignity and recognition as a green job. The team will co-design a physical addition for diverting recyclables on NYCHA’s street bins.

Fellowship Year: New Loops

author-avatar
Akemi Sato
Design Trust for Public Space

Local Organics Loop

Local Organics Loop imagines a circular system for collecting and managing organics at a neighborhood scale that creates opportunities for local reuse and circularity in public space. Their proposal for a local public space “hub” will connect to existing compost networks in order to process organics into rich, locally-used compost while also engaging and educating the neighborhood.

Fellowship Year: New Loops

author-avatar
Rafael Berges
NYC Department of City Planning
author-avatar
Alexandra Burkhardt
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
author-avatar
Fernando Canteli de Castro
NYC Department of Transportation
author-avatar
Graci Mills
COOKFOX Architects
author-avatar
Marisa Prefer
Environmental Consultant
author-avatar
Miryam Shemwell
NYC Public Schools

New Markets for New Americans

New Markets for New Americans believes in a thriving New York City with immigrant neighborhoods boasting prosperous markets that foster economic self-determination and food sovereignty. To realize this future, the team will refine, translate and distribute resources to help New Americans with the process of starting small food businesses.

Fellowship Year: Neighborhood Fare

author-avatar
Tim Duschenes
Data and Trust Alliance
author-avatar
Kimberly J. Vallejo
She Wolf Bakery

Office for Public Bathrooms

The Office for Public Bathrooms is leading advocacy for a high-quality, dignified and equitable public bathroom system for New York City by the year 2035 as proposed by Intro 1154. The team is dedicated to providing data, creating innovative public bathroom solutions, and developing comprehensive policy frameworks that embody the core principles of equity, accessibility, safety and quality. Read their latest article here!

Fellowship Year: Shelter for All

author-avatar
Julie Chou
Purpose by Design Architects
author-avatar
Boyeong Hong
NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management

Our Belonging Project

Our Belonging Project (OBP) is an urban place-based initiative designed to create a community of belonging and support, combating loneliness and social isolation while celebrating diversity and multiple identities. OBP seeks to promote inclusivity, understanding and mutual support among diverse communities through regular place-based events, activities and new traditions.

Fellowship Year: Design for Arrival

Public Space for Public Good

Public Space for Public Good seeks to connect businesses, residents, and policymakers with underutilized spaces to promote a circular waste system. The team will organize an event to provide Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair, and Reclaim (5R) programming at the Pitkin Avenue BID as well as refine a practical, community 5R guide.

Fellowship: New Loops

author-avatar
Brittany Hodges
Avdoo & Partners Development
author-avatar
Yoo Jin Lee
Marvel
author-avatar
gil lopez
Environmental Educator & Ecological Design Consultant

Share Shed NYC

Share Shed NYC is an all-volunteer collective working to support the sharing economy for urban gardeners and growers in NYC. Share Shed NYC aims to strengthen already-existing sharing relationships and resources by building decentralized tools for connecting growers and increasing sharing across the city. They are currently working on community-embedded research in the South Bronx to identify gaps in the sharing network.

Fellowship Year: Neighborhood Fare

author-avatar
Chit Yee Ng
Marvel
author-avatar
Catherine Ponte
NYC Department of Transportation
author-avatar
Ciara Sidell
Randall’s Island Park Alliance
author-avatar
Alejandro Vazquez
James Corner Field Operations