Forefront

The Forefront Fellowship is an annual professional fellowship dedicated to cultivating emerging leaders in urban design, development, policy, and advocacy. Each year, an interdisciplinary cohort of 25 Forefront Fellows, over the course of 10 months, investigates how design can address a social or political challenge facing New York City. Forefront is grounded in an equity-based approach to urban design, which shapes the composition of each cohort, the selection of program theme, and the ethos of the program.
Events ↓
On February 18, Forefront Fellows hosted a workshop investigating how the 15-minute neighborhood framework can build community power and support a resilient recovery in New York. As New Yorkers face the triple threat of COVID-19, the climate crisis, and economic inequality, planners, designers and policy-makers are exploring solutions for a just, green recovery. The 15-minute More
On February 18, Forefront Fellows hosted a cross-sectoral discussion on building a pipeline for green careers through investment in public infrastructure. Historically in moments of economic downturn, the investment, construction, and maintenance of public infrastructure has been leveraged as a key mechanism for job creation and workforce development — from the New Deal of the More
Join us for a lunchtime discussion with the 2020 Forefront Fellows on investing in an inclusive green economy in New York City. This year, our Forefront Fellows partnered with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and Mayor’s Office of M/WBE to collect creative recommendations on channeling investment in building retrofits to MWBEs, employee owned businesses, More
On June 11, join us for a morning discussion with Jainey Bavishi, Daphne Lundi, Amy Macdonald and Lydia Gaby on keeping New Yorkers safe from extreme heat during a pandemic.
On September 7, Forefront Fellows spent the day at Freskhills Park to understand the financing, policy and design of the second-largest park in New York City.
On April 16, we were joined by Commissioner Steven Banks and the 2018 Forefront Fellows to present original ideas on addressing New York City’s homelessness crisis.
On September 18th, our Forefront Fellows launched the second phase of their year-long inquiry on homelessness with a workshop on their team projects.
On April 18, MOIA Acting Commissioner Bitta Mostofi delivered a keynote address about the City's work to support immigrant neighborhoods, and Forefront Fellows presented their original policy proposals and design interventions to empower New York City's immigrant communities.
On February 26, Forefront Fellows Anktia Chachra, Nse Esema, Jonathan Goldman and Matt McMahon invited civic and community leaders for an evening program exploring immigrant issues and perspectives in the New York Metro region.
On January 16, Forefront Fellows Sreoshy Banerjea, Yuan Lai and Alison Von Glinow proposed a co-living housing model to support new immigrant arrivals in New York City.
On November 28, our Economic Development team organized an evening program exploring the value small businesses to new arrival immigrants, what the current developments in Sunset Park mean for its long-standing immigrants and how co-ops can be a tool for greater agency, ownership and stability.
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 May 23 the Forum welcomed our newest class of Forefront Fellows at the Museum of Chinese in America for orientation as they begin exploring how urban design can empower immigrant communities.
For the capstone of the Forefront Fellowship program, we visited Hudson Yards - the largest private real estate development project in the history of the US.
On February 21 six Forefront Fellows were invited to present individual projects on infrastructure and public space to their cohort and guest critic Miriam Roure, of Urban-X.
Our third Fellow spotlight session will feature five fellows working on projects impacting the city in a myriad of ways. While it is hard to find a common thread between the group, all in some way deal with the topics of civic technology, equity and public space.
The Lowline is a plan to use innovative solar technology to illuminate an historic trolley terminal on the Lower East Side of New York City. Join us for a tour of the Lowline Lab, a long-term open laboratory and technical exhibit designed to test and showcase how the Lowline will grow and sustain plants underground.
Our fifth Forefront Urban Experience Design event explores how crowdfunding technology is changing the way we build our cities. The evening will bring together two very different civic projects made possible by equally different crowdfunding platforms.
Environmental sensors are touted as a panacea for identifying, measuring and solving pressing urban problems. Our Forefront Fellows will take a deep dive into the new Internet of Things frontier with key figures in two cutting edge companies, Jeff Maki from Intersection and Alexandre Winter from Placemeter.
Spotlight events invite Forefront Fellows working in similar areas to present current projects for reflection and feedback from their peers. Our first spotlight event will focus on Fellows working to create new forms of meaningful community engagement. As our invited guest critic, Urban Design Forum Fellow and new Executive Director of the NYC Public Commission Justin Garret Moore will moderate a discussion following the presentations.
Urban Experience Design, our very first Forefront program series, will explore how new civic technologies are transforming the management and operations of the public realm, and debate how big data might be applied to build a more dynamic, equitable and resilient city. The series will kick off with an examination of new spatial analysis tools, and how they enable citizen participation and government transparency.
Proposals ↓
The Urban Design Forum’s 2019 Forefront Fellowship, Turning the Heat, addressed ways how urban practitioners can advance climate justice principles across New York City. In partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency, Fellows surveyed neighborhoods, studied buildings, interviewed local and international stakeholders, and produced creative research on mitigating heat. Fellows developed original design and policy More
The Urban Design Forum’s 2019 Forefront Fellowship, Turning the Heat, addressed ways how urban practitioners can advance climate justice principles across New York City. In partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency, Fellows surveyed neighborhoods, studied buildings, interviewed local and international stakeholders, and produced creative research on mitigating heat. Fellows developed original design and policy More
The Urban Design Forum’s 2019 Forefront Fellowship, Turning the Heat, addressed ways how urban practitioners can advance climate justice principles across New York City. In partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency, Fellows surveyed neighborhoods, studied buildings, interviewed local and international stakeholders, and produced creative research on mitigating heat. Fellows developed original design and policy More
New York City's open spaces should protect the dignity and human rights of people experiencing homelessness; connect those living on the streets with the resources they need; and welcome them without excluding other New Yorkers.
The subconscious interplay between dehumanization, stigmatization, and our negative perceptions of the oppressed in our society must be exposed and eliminated.
Publications ↓
This collection presents the work completed by the Urban Design Forum addressing climate justice issues in New York City through the 2019-2020 Forefront Fellowship. Through Turning the Heat, Fellows developed original design and policy proposals on creating circular economic and sustainable models in NYC, developing community resiliency within NYCHA housing, factoring design into preventative care, More
In 2018-19, the Urban Design Forum’s Forefront Fellows investigated the homelessness crisis in New York City. This compilation presents the original design and policy proposals developed by the Fellows and accompanying interviews with subject-matter experts.
We are pleased to publish our second class of Forefront Fellows' original design and policy proposals to empower emerging and historic immigrant neighborhoods in New York City.
Our inaugural Forefront class spent the past year meeting with Carto, Intersection, Kickstarter, Sidewalk Labs, and NYU CUSP to discuss how smart city technology is changing the way we experience and build cities. We are excited to publish the cohort's proposals, ideas and critiques on design in the digital era.