urban design competition nyc

Urban Design for the Evolving Economy

Submission: March 16, 2018
RegistrationMarch 16, 2018
Language: English
Location: NYC, USA
Prizes: Please see details below
Type: Open


Building an equitable economy in New York City requires a groundbreaking approach to urban design. New York City lays claim to our nation’s largest economy and a record low unemployment rate. Yet stagnating wages, skyrocketing rents and growth in the gig economy have made the city increasingly inaccessible to the urban workforce.

Even worse, the federal government is reducing investment in human capital – from education and low-income housing, health and human services, and essential infrastructure – threatening upward mobility across the boroughs.

To confront the affordability crisis, the de Blasio administration has pledged to create 100,000 good-paying jobs through capital investment and land use tools. But how can we balance the need for new commercial development with much-needed housing? Is it time to transform our central business district, revamp our outer borough downtowns, and adapt our industrial zones? Where could we invest in public space and upgrade infrastructure?

And how will advances in technology impact the urban landscape? Automation may threaten nearly a tenth of the city’s current jobs. E-commerce is transforming the city’s retail corridors and freight networks. Co-working and the sharing economy have opened new neighborhoods to small businesses. Will we be able to harness technology to shape a more dynamic and equitable city?

The Forum invites you to advance designs, policy initiatives and creative financing ideas focused on the evolving economy. We are looking for proposals that explore the question:

How can we use creative zoning, investment in the public realm, and new infrastructure to enhance economic outcomes for all?

We welcome design, policy, and creative financing proposals pertaining to the below sites of opportunity:

  • Central Business Districts
  • New Working Neighborhoods
  • Cultural & Nightlife Districts
  • Industrial Business Zones
  • Commercial Corridors & BIDs
  • Mobility Networks
  • Open Space

The most compelling ideas will form the basis of the Urban Design Forum’s Work Force program, a series of presentations, tours, and roundtables debates with key city leaders hosted monthly from June 2018 to April 2019. Successful proposals will also be included in a 2019 publication, distributed to key civic leaders and a broad public throughout the region.

We are looking for bold ideas with real world applicability. We welcome napkin sketches, policy proposals, detailed designs, essays, videos, etc. Ideas may apply to sites in the City of New York or the greater New York area. Examples from other cities that can be applied to New York City are also welcome. There is no limit to the number of ideas you may submit, but each must be submitted individually.

Go to the competition’s website