Fellows ↓
Events ↓
Join us in discussion with Nikil Saval, Jonsara Ruth, and Diana Hernández on ideas for a just housing recovery as seen through a health equity lens after COVID-19. During our discussion, Sandra Lobo and Eric Fang joined us as respondents. The link between access to safe and quality housing and our health has never been 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.

Ruled Out

Event ▻ Shape Shift
On December 17, Fellows joined us for drinks and discussion on how historic racial planning policies produced the spatial inequalities of New York City today.

Ground Rules

Event ▻ Shape Shift
On October 28, David Karnovsky, V. Mitch McEwen, Jack Robbins, and Ben Carlos Thypin discussed the history and future of zoning 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 May 31, we explored how London and New York are tackling homelessness and providing innovative solutions to house those who need it most.
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 February 13, the Urban Design Forum invited Scott Anderson, Betsy MacLean, Sam Marks, Gregory Schiefelbein, and Barika Williams to debate how to maintain and expand affordable housing in New York City.
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 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.

Grappling with Growth

Event ▻ NY-LON
New York City Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and London Deputy Mayor Jules Pipe engaged in a cross-Atlantic dialogue on how both cities grapple with creating a fair and equitable city in the face of continued growth.

DUMBO Waterfront

Event ▻ Tours
On November 2, the Urban Design Forum featured an exclusive behind the scenes look at the latest two development sites on the DUMBO waterfront: Empire Stores and One John Street. Click for a full recap and photos from the tour!
For Garvin, a great city is a dynamic, constantly changing place that residents and their leaders can reshape to satisfy their demands. Looking at several North American and European cities, from New York to Seattle and Paris to Madrid, Garvin examines how these cities have adapted and transformed over time.
What can London learn from New York’s experiences of higher density living as it too seeks to up its housing output? And how can the UK capital ensure that it is creating robust communities that are sustainable and attractive?
What does ‘affordable’ mean in housing today? That was the question posed to, and addressed by, speakers from New York and London in the NLA’s latest NY-LON live video link up, held last week at the offices of KPF on both sides of the Atlantic.

On September 16th the Urban Design Forum was joined by Robert A.M. Stern Architects and Cathleen McGuigan for rooftop cocktails and conversation about the firm’s recent work in China. Robert A.M. Stern Architects is an internationally recognized architecture firm based in New York City. Recent projects in China include Heart of Lake, a high-rise garden More
On July 20, the Urban Design Forum invited Ma Yansong, founding principal of MAD Architects, and Michael Sorkin, founding principal of Michael Sorkin Studio, to discuss Ma’s “Shanshui City” design philosophy. At the age of 39, Ma has already garnered international acclaim for his imaginative buildings and unorthodox urban design. His work draws inspiration from More
In April 2014, fellows of the Urban Design Forum convened with top housing officials and experts to discuss the state of American public housing.   Across the nation, cities from New Orleans to Chicago have razed and replaced housing projects with mixed-use communities, housing vouchers, and tax credits. New York City is one of the More
On November 17, the Forum + Institute for Urban Design invited Shola Olatoye, Chair of the New York City Housing Authority, and Jerilyn Perine, Director of the Citizens Housing & Planning Council, to discuss the future of public housing in New York City. Public housing, owned and managed by the New York City Housing Authority More
For nearly a century, the City of Vienna has built one of the world’s most ambitious social housing programs. Over 60% of all Viennese households live in council housing owned or subsidized by the Austrian government. And unlike the uniform housing blocks associated with other global cities, Vienna’s housing balances low rents with inventive architecture, More
After our inspiring spring forum surveying the state of public housing across the nation, we turned our attention to New York City. As many as 600,000 residents live in public housing managed by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Yet the authority faces mounting challenges: aging buildings in various states of disrepair, dwindling federal More
London and New York are exploring planning, design and coping mechanisms as they adapt to a wave of tall and super-tall buildings that are set to appear on the skyline of the two famous world cities.

Capsys Plant Tour

Event ▻ Tours
In February, the Fellows of the Forum donned heavy jackets for a crisp nighttime tour of the Capsys Plant at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Capsys is a renowned manufacturer of modular housing, specializing in hotels, multifamily housing, supportive housing, assisted living facilities rising as high as 13 stories. Tom O’Hara, Director of Business Development, guided More
On July 30, the Forum hosted the Next New York Fellows Dinner to celebrate the culmination of the Next New York series. Daniel Doctoroff (Bloomberg LP) and John Zuccotti (Brookfield Office Properties) joined Julia Vitullo-Martin (Regional Plan Association) in conversation about new directions for the next mayor. What were the most pressing challenges facing New More

Balanced Metropolis

Event ▻ NY-LON
On October 12, Forum Fellows met with New London Architecture members to confront the challenge of balancing investment in the city and its suburbs.
Spontaneous Interventions: design actions for the common good was first presented as the exhibition of the U.S. Pavilion at the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale (Fall 2012). It documents the nascent movement of designers acting on their own initiative to solve problematic urban situations, creating new opportunities and amenities for the public. Provisional, improvisational, guerrilla, More

Barclays Center Tour

Event ▻ Tours
Three months leading up to its inauguration by Jay-Z, the Forum hosted a tour with Forest City Ratner of the Barclays Center, the arena at the heart of the Atlantic Yards project in Downtown Brooklyn. Winthrop Hoyt, Assistant Vice President of Development in charge of the arena project, sorted through the project’s history, from the More
In April 2012, the Forum for Urban Design convened to discuss the tallest building in the world to be built with modular construction. Bruce Ratner and MaryAnne Gilmartin of Forest City Ratner and Christopher Sharples of SHoP Architects presented their ambitious 32 story prefab tower at Atlantic Yards. Although modular construction has been experimented with More
On March 8, the Forum for Urban Design and the Museum of Modern Art, with generous support by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, gathered a national homebuilder, a former NYC City Planning Director turned suburban developer, a prominent Phoenix advocate, and a leading New Urbanist to debate the proposals put forth in the MoMA More
On November 2, the Forum convened four figures who have radically reconfigured the New York City urban landscape under Michael Bloomberg: Daniel Doctoroff, former Deputy Mayor for Economic Development; Janette Sadik-Khan, Commissioner of NYC DOT; Adrian Benepe, Commissioner of NYC Parks; and Adriaan Geuze, Principal of West 8 and Designer-in-Charge of Governors Island. Doctoroff opened More
Urban Design Week was a public festival created to engage New Yorkers in the fascinating and complex issues of the public realm, and to celebrate the streetscapes, sidewalks, and public spaces at the heart of city life. At its heart was By the City/ For the City, a crowdsourced design project that gathered more than More
In 2011 the Urban Design Forum invited architects, planners, artists, designers, and students around the world to participate in By the City / For the City, a collaborative re-imagining of New York City’s public realm.
In conjunction with The Drawing Center’s exhibition of Paul Rudolph’s design for the Lower Manhattan Expressway on view through November 20th and hosted by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union, this panel examined the tenor of the times which led The Ford Foundation to commission Rudolph to react to Robert More
Saturday, November 7th, 2009 The Great Hall, The Cooper Union Free admission Arrested Development: Do Megaprojects Have a Future? In November 2009, we hosted a public discussion with architects, developers, policymakers and economists on the state of megaprojects in light of the stalled economy. Astoundingly, this era of economic contraction has brought progress in environmental More
Proposals ↓
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.
By Theodore Liebman Theodore Liebman, FAIA, has devoted his career to examining the impacts of development on people and the environment, with an eye to improving cities and shaping future settlements. Now a Principal with Perkins Eastman, an Adjunct Professor at NYU, and Board Member with the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization, Liebman casts his mind More
Given the tremendous contribution that landmarks make to New York City, we need a more effective program to allow property owners to use untapped development rights to obtain funds needed for maintenance. We propose amending the zoning text to allow non-profit landmarks to transfer their development rights anywhere within their community district, as-of-right, as long as the development rights can be used within existing building height and setback constraints.
We must recognize that the process of displacement and replacement now occurring citywide will not foster integrated and healthy communities, and we must explore new zoning mechanisms to reverse this pattern.

Dynamic Zoning

Proposal ▻ Next New York (2013)
The static nature of the zoning code can make it an ineffective tool in helping communities address changing needs and conditions in their neighborhoods. It’s time to create a more dynamic planning process that explicitly addresses community well-being, not just form.
Typically, developers spend six months preparing responses to requests for proposals (RFPs). This has never been easy, but in recent years, the requirements have become extremely complex, arduous and expensive. Losing competitions is painful.
We have a serious shortfall in housing. Our total population is expected to rise by another million by 2030. The vacancy rate has stayed below 5% since it was first recorded in the 1960s. And half of New Yorkers pay more than 30% of their income on housing.
While NYCHA is a great success — providing housing for 1 out of 13 New Yorkers — it is also struggling to remain solvent. The habitability of its buildings will soon be threatened if capital investments are not forthcoming.
Modular construction can transform how we build affordable and market-rate buildings with greater savings and a diminished impact on the community and the environment. At our first high-rise project at Atlantic Yards, we found that we can use a modern means of construction while embracing sustainability and delivering on world-class architecture.
Publications ↓
News ↓
What is the value of design in shelters? When is good design not enough? How can we create design guidelines that improve the lives of residents and staff, not burden them? And as urbanists, should we focus our energies on addressing today’s crisis, or long-term solutions to house the most vulnerable?
This compilation presents the work completed by the Urban Design Forum in 2018-19 addressing the recent homelessness crisis in New York City.
It will take the effort of each of us to eliminate homelessness. But we must use our money, power, and positions in society to provide a platform for those directly impacted to lead the way.
From installing temporary shading on public housing to naming heat waves, these posters feature proposals that explore the role buildings can play in advancing heat resiliency and aim to prioritize low-income communities and communities of color that are disproportionately at risk from the threat of extreme heat.
The most daunting challenge facing our city today is not what to build, but what to restore.
Climate justice in New York City can be achieved through clever urban design and community development. How can we retrofit buildings, improve open space, and strengthen social infrastructure to tackle the threat of extreme heat?
Forum News
We are thrilled to announce our third class of Forefront Fellows. The Forefront Fellowship promotes the next generation of urban leaders. This year's interdisciplinary cohort will explore how urban design can support homeless populations, engage host communities and end cycles of homelessness.
In the form of a stabilized, community-based, shared living environment, CO-LIVE has the ability to positively address the housing challenges faced by immigrants upon their arrival, while effectively increase housing supply and choices.
Cities around the world are grappling with record rates of homelessness. How can we design shelters, intake centers and supportive housing to turn the tide?
Fellows in the News
Lena Afridi and Armando Moritz-Chapelliquen explain why gentrification is more than the loss of housing and small businesses, it is also the loss of culture.
Fellows in the News
Tommy Craig is developing Sunrise at East 56th Street to provide seniors with assisted living and memory care services.
Fellows in the News
Rohit Aggarwala details Sidewalk Labs's community engagement efforts and its design ethos in the development of the Toronto Waterfront.
Fellows in the News
Rohit Aggarwala, Juliette Michaelson, Lucrecia Montemayor and Tom Wright released Regional Plan Association's 4th Regional Plan.
Fellows in the News
Katie Lorah and Rasmia Kirmani-Frye launched Ideas Marketplace, an online crowdfunding platform to fund NYCHA sustainability initiatives.
Fellows in the News
Jamie von Klemperer is bringing vibrancy to the Downtown San Diego waterfront with the design of Pacific Gate.
Fellows in the News
Alex Garvin criticizes the City's proposed rezoning of Midtown East for threatening the neighborhood's existing balance and being a cash sale of zoning rights.
Fellows in the News
Miriam Peterson and Nathan Rich designed Siteless Tower as a critique of recent development in New York City for the Center for Architecture's 5x5 Participatory Provocations.
Fellows in the News
Louise Carroll explains that the city has no legal recourse against the Rabsky Group for failing to adhere to the non-binding agreement made by the previous owner of the Rheingold development regarding affordable housing.
Fellows in the News
Forefront Fellow Alison Von Glinow won a Bee Breeders competition seeking to address the pressures of expanding populations and urban growth on existing housing markets in Hong Kong.
Fellows in the News
Jamie von Klemperer is designing Echelon Seaport, a mixed-use development to revitalize the Boston Seaport with a commitment to public space and activity.
Fellows in the News
Drew Lang explains his design work at Hudson Woods in the Catskills, emphasizing his desire to put nature first.
Fellows in the News
Ken Greenberg gave a walking tour of Toronto's "the Kings" to show the benefits of relaxed zoning laws on the community.
Fellows in the News
Howard Husock speaks about the origins of federal housing subsidies, their deleterious effects, and how private markets can provide housing to low-income individuals.
Fellows in the News
Mark Willis analyzed the impact of the changes from the suspended 421-a program to the 2017 proposed program.
Fellows in the News
Juliette Michaelson and Tom Wright from RPA, with Guy Nordenson and Paul Lewis of Princeton University, are hosting a design competition to transform four corridor geographies within the NY-metro region.
Fellows in the News
Elliott Maltby and Gita Nandan from Thread Collective offer a field guide to fences throughout New York City to show how the barriers we use define our spaces and ourselves, from the mundane to the maddening.
Fellows in the News
Louise Carroll, Class of 2016 Fellow, is a proponent of affordable housing in NYC with her work on the Inclusionary Housing Program at HPD.
Call for Ideas
How can we use design thinking, creative financing, new technology, and community organizing to maintain our physical and social infrastructure?
Fellows in the News
Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown conceptualized the Living Room - a new vision for communal development in China.
Fellows in the News
Adam Lubinsky facilitated the development of the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, a local effort to preserve affordable housing stock, open space, and the community's cultural heritage.
William Fain offers lessons that Los Angeles can teach on urban living today. Despite its sprawling and suburban reputation, its brand of urbanism may be influencing cities around the world as much as its older, Eastern US counterparts.
Christopher Beardsley sat down with Kathryn Gustafson, Rob Rogers, Marion Weiss, and Skip Graffam to discuss their visions for renewing the National Mall.