We’re Hiring a Program Manager

Urban Design Forum seeks a full-time Program Manager to lead our Forefront Fellowship programs and publications. We’re searching for an early- to mid-career professional excited to join a small, fast-growing team. This is an energizing, multi-functional role with opportunity to lead annual inquiries and shape the long-term strategy of this leadership development program.

About the Forefront Fellowship

Forefront is an annual leadership development initiative that empowers emerging professionals to create meaningful change within our city. Each year, we convene a cohort of 25 Fellows to investigate how design can address a social or political challenge facing New York City. Over the course of 10 months, Fellows explore wide-ranging approaches to the annual topic in partnership with a city agency and through independent projects. Fellows attend site visits, engage with stakeholders, conduct independent research and produce original projects ranging from educational resources to place-based pilots to creative policy briefs.

Recent Forefront projects include a toolkit to guide investment in food equity, policy proposals to support an inclusive green economy, and recommendations to mitigate the impact of extreme heat in the built environment. Forefront Fellows’ work has been cited in publications like CityLab and The City, presented at conferences, and informed legislative proposals.

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. The initiative reflects our commitment to empower diverse leadership within the design and development professions. In each cohort, we seek to welcome a mix of backgrounds, perspectives and disciplines – especially from underrepresented groups such as women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities.

Our current program, New Loops, re-envisions New York City’s waste system. Previous areas of inquiry include food equity (2021), green building retrofits (2020), extreme heat (2019), homelessness (2018), and immigration (2017).


  • Program Design – Plans the annual Forefront program, including arranging site visits, stakeholder calls, workshops and more. Iterates on leadership development curriculum to meet participants’ needs.
  • Program Facilitation – Serves as lead facilitator for 25-person cohort, fostering cohort connections, managing conflicts, and supporting individual fellows’ growth.
  • Program Management – Executes all program activities, selects venues, coordinates with speakers, and manages day-of logistics.
  • Program Research – Researches annual topic at the intersection of equity and the built environment, develops stakeholder maps, collects relevant resources, and sets research agenda for Fellows’ work.
  • Publications – Edits content and coordinates with graphic designers to produce annual deliverables such as reports, posters, and toolkits.
  • Strategic Partnerships – Establishes and maintains relationships with city agency partners for existing and future Forefront projects.
  • Recruitment – Develops and executes a recruitment plan to build cohorts representing diverse identities, backgrounds, and experiences.
  • Alumni Engagement – Serves as liaison to 150+ program alumni and supports alumni leadership through program steering committee.
  • Evaluation – Devises evaluation surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one check ins to monitor program impact and inform program development.


  • Deep commitment to and passion for addressing urban inequity.
  • Broad curiosity on issues in the built environment, including housing, economic development, mobility, and climate.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Excellent organizational and time-management skills.
  • Experience in facilitating medium to large groups of people.
  • Experience in event production and program management is a plus.
  • Experience in community and stakeholder engagement is a plus.
  • Experience in research or editorial is a plus.
  • Experience working across different identities, experiences, and professional contexts is a plus.
  • Bachelor’s Degree and 2-4 years of relevant work experience; or a Master’s Degree and 1-4 years of relevant work experience.

Employment data show that women and people from underrepresented groups apply to jobs only if they think they meet 100% of the criteria. If you meet many but not all the criteria and feel you may be a good fit for the role, we encourage you to apply.

Location & Schedule

This position will report to our New York City-based office. Employees are expected to work in our office three days per week, and invited to work remotely two days per week. We also offer several weeks per year when every staff member is welcome to work remotely. We host events on nights and weekends and offer flexible scheduling when staff are expected to work at those times.

Compensation & Benefits

The expected salary for this position will be $60,000 – 65,000. We offer a competitive benefits package, including health, dental, vision, vacation and retirement benefits.

How to Apply

Please submit your resume/CV and cover letter via this form. Applications are due Thursday, September 15 and will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

We are an equal opportunity employer and are committed to attracting and retaining a talented and diverse team of professionals that resembles the city we serve. Women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and individuals with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.


Please contact submissions@urbandesignforum.org.

About the Urban Design Forum

Urban Design Forum mobilizes civic leaders to confront the defining issues facing New York City. We work with our 750 members to investigate complex challenges in the built environment, study alternative approaches from cities around the world, and advance progressive strategies to build a more dynamic and democratic city. Our programs are guided by the following values:

  1. We believe the design and development communities must address enduring injustices in New York City, such as housing segregation, economic inequality, and environmental racism.
  2. We believe New York should learn from international cities for pioneering and inspiring solutions to urban challenges.
  3. We believe creating interdisciplinary cohorts of emerging leaders can empower more diverse civic leadership.
  4. We believe government agencies should develop a long-term vision for the built environment, rather than achieve short-term wins.
  5. We believe decision-makers must build with, and not for, traditionally disenfranchised communities–such as women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities.
  6. We believe the public should be mobilized around the value of design in achieving equity, inclusion, and sustainability in the built environment.