What types of projects are possible?

The Design Trust accepts proposals for research, design, and planning projects that will effect how public space in New York City is planned, designed, or used.

Project proposals can be at a system-wide scale (like the High Performance Guidelines series) or at a site-specific scale (like Reinventing Grand Army Plaza or Reclaiming the High Line). Projects at the early stages of planning—with demonstrated community or city support—will receive priority.

Please refer to our list of past projects to better understand what we do.

Who can submit a proposal?

Project proposals can be submitted by government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and community groups based in New York City. We do not accept project proposals from individuals or for-profit entities.

The Design Trust is not a granting organization or a design consultancy—we are a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public space in New York City(read our mission). Every Design Trust project is done in full partnership with the project partner that proposed the project to us.

What is expected of the partner organization?

The Design Trust believes that public/private partnerships are the most effective way to advance the quality of our public realm. To that end, our projects require the full commitment and active participation of the partner organization.

The partner organization must be prepared to dedicate staff time and institutional resources to the project, attend all project meetings, and work in concert with the Design Trust on all fundraising, publicity, and outreach efforts.

The partner organization is responsible for implementing the project's results once the Design Trust's involvement has ended.

How are project proposals evaluated?

The Design Trust does not undertake a project unless the city agency or community group best situated to implement the designs and plans we develop is involved from the very beginning.

Project proposals are reviewed by the Design Trust on a rolling basis. Each proposal is judged using the following criteria:
  • applicability citywide
  • timeliness/urgency
  • importance to NYC
  • feasibility
  • clear, attainable goal
  • well-formed team
  • replicability city, state or   nationwide
  • demonstrated need for   Design Trust involvement

What is the benefit of working with the Design Trust?

Our holistic, independent, and unbiased approach enables us to work across sectors and institutional barriers. The Design Trust's unique project teams, deep familiarity with city process, and experience engaging multiple stakeholders produce real change in New York City.

In a practical sense, the Design Trust leads the project team, managing budget scope, schedule, public outreach, and final deliverables. Project funding is solicited jointly with the partner organization once the project has been selected and scoped.

What is a typical project outcome?

Among our more than 30 public space projects, we helped save the High Line from demolition, produced the definitive design manual for NYC's 29,000 acres of parkland, and jumpstarted the creation of a new taxicab for New York City.

For every project, we:
  • engage mulitiple stakeholders
  • enlist private-sector talent
  • think systemically about how cities work
  • build effective partnerships
  • generate design, planning, or policy solutions for complex urban-design issues
  • galvanize change in the public realm

Call for Project Proposals

In an effort to be more responsive to timely public space issues facing our city, the Design Trust is now accepting project proposals on an ongoing basis. We are looking for research, design, and planning projects that will positively impact public space in New York City.

If you are interested in submitting a project proposal, read through the information provided here and then complete the form below (Note: Your proposal is not complete until you hit the "Submit" button). We will make every best effort to respond to your submission within 6-8 weeks from the date it was received.

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