2017-2018 Equitable Public Space Fellows Luisa Santos and Carlos Mandeville 

Photo: Design Trust for Public Space

We are now accepting submissions for the 2018-2019 Design Trust Equitable Public Space Fellowship Program. The Fellow will join the Design Trust team as a full-time paid staff member for an intensive one-year fellowship to begin in June 2018 and end in July 2019, and will become a part of the Design Trust community, interact with project fellows, partners and collaborators.


The Design Trust for Public Space is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the future of public space in New York City. Our projects bring together city agencies, community groups, and private sector experts to make a lasting impact—through design—on how New Yorkers live, work, and play.

In June 2016, we created the Equitable Public Space Fellowship to support the next generation of urban designers, architects, landscape architects, and planners in contributing to complex public space challenges in our global city. As we surveyed the representation of minority groups in the design profession and the growing diversity of NYC’s neighborhoods, we recognized the need to reflect the people we serve. Our unique project model opens dialogue and develops collaborative relationships between the public and private sectors to achieve innovative solutions together. We have found that greater diversity among project participants develops empathy and leads to more meaningful and sustainable outcomes for all New Yorkers. Through the Fellowship, we seek to create a model for bringing more voices, skill sets, and life experiences into the practice of design for public space.

We will select a promising emerging professional whose life and work experience will contribute significantly to the design expertise and design thinking in our work with community-based organizations and public agencies. We seek candidates from historically marginalized groups and underrepresented perspectives who are curious, driven, and passionate about NYC’s shared spaces and transforming the city’s landscape.

the benefits of the fellowship

  • Impact: The Fellows will have the opportunity to have a real impact on New York City’s public spaces through Design Trust projects.
  • Cross-sector experience: The Fellows will be exposed to a range of organizations and individuals working in the public realm in NYC, including urban planning, design, community organizations, non-profits, government, and private entities, and a firsthand look at how systems work in New York to affect public space in the city.
  • Public exposure: The Fellows will contribute ideas and expertise on issues in the field, authoring four posts throughout the year on the Design Trust Blog, as well as contributing to and being recognized in Design Trust publications, events, and public work. The Fellows will also have the opportunity to represent the Design Trust at conferences throughout the US.
  • Relationship Building: The Fellows will have the chance to build relationships with the network of over 100 Design Trust Fellows through participation in quarterly Fellows Forum salons tackling tough design issues in the city. The Design Trust’s strong local ties with many types of designers and urbanists in New York make this position ideal for someone looking to build a professional career in New York City.
  • Hands-on professional development: The Fellows will work primarily with Program staff. Additionally, the Design Trust will support the Fellow’s participation in local conferences related to current projects and the Fellows' interests. The Fellows will have the opportunity to present their work with the Design Trust to the Board of Directors at their June 2019 meeting.
  • Mentorship: The Fellows will meet monthly with the Director of Programs and quarterly with the Executive Director to facilitate the Fellows’ learning and reflection, and tailor the Fellowship to their interests and career goals.
  • Salary: $40,000 for the year along with full healthcare benefits. The selected candidates will enter into an employment contract with the Design Trust for a stated term of one year to perform the work subject to specific terms and conditions.

core areas of learning and work

The Fellow will be immersed in many aspects of the Design Trust’s work, and assist with a variety of tasks during the year, including, but not limited to:

  • [80%] Program Development & Implementation: The Fellow will work with the Director of Programs and the Program Manager on program development, implementation, and evaluation, including: research, project management, stakeholder engagement, event coordination, and production of deliverables for current projects, such as:
  • [10%] Nonprofit Management and Organizational Development: The Fellow will play an integral role in helping the staff to operationalize the values of equity and inclusion in the workplace at the Design Trust, including participating in bi-weekly equity meetings. The Fellow will also assist staff as needed with office administration and communications, support for internal and external events, internal meetings, Public Space Potlucks, Fellows Forums, Board meetings, Design Trust Council events and the Annual Gala.
  • [10%] Research Project: The Fellow will complete an independent research project based on their interests and expertise, to be presented to the Design Trust Board of Directors at their June 2019 meeting, and used in future Design Trust work as applicable.

The Public Space Fellowships will be full-time positions located at the Design Trust office, to be completed during working hours (Design Trust office hours are 9:30 am – 5:30 pm) with occasional evening and weekend event attendance as needed.

application guidelines

The application deadline is Sunday, April 1, 2018 at 11:59 pm Eastern Daylight Time. Incomplete applications or materials that do not meet the following criteria will not be considered. Applicants under consideration will be contacted. No phone calls please. All applicants will be notified by June 2018.

Applicants who are from populations historically underrepresented in the design profession are strongly encouraged to apply. Applicants must be eligible to work legally in the United States. We welcome applications from anyone with a 2-year or 4-year degree from a public, private, or community college or university. The Fellowship is not open to candidates who have completed a graduate degree. In particular, we are looking for candidates interested in pursuing a career in one of the following fields, and who have demonstrated some experience related to their interest:
  • Architecture 
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Studies
  • Government 
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Public Health
  • Public Policy
  • Real Estate and Development 
  • Sustainability
  • Urban Design
  • Urban Planning

Materials to Submit:
Please email the following materials in one PDF with the title “[LASTNAME, FIRST NAME]: Equitable Public Space Fellowship Application” to fellowship@designtrust.org. All application materials must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Sunday, April 1, 2018, to be considered.
  • Resume [maximum 1 page]
  • Work Sample [2-3 pages, can include written or visual work, highlighting your ability to express ideas]
  • 1 letter of recommendation [submitted directly to the Design Trust via mail or email listed above]
  • 2 references
  • Written Responses to the following questions:
    • Question 1 [300 word limit]: Describe a challenge you’ve experienced with a particular public space; how would you address it?
    • Question 2 [300 word limit]: How has your life experience and your identity contributed to your work so far, and the work you hope to do in the future?
    • Question 3 [300 word limit]: What drives you to apply to the Equitable Public Space Fellowship, and how do you think it will contribute to your long-term goals?

Equal Opportunity and Anti-Harassment Policy:
Design Trust encourages people of all abilities, ethnicities, genders, national origins or ancestries, races, religions and sexualities to apply. Design Trust is also committed to accessibility and to working together with you to develop an accessibility plan.


The Design Trust Equitable Public Space Fellowship Program support is provided in part by Eve Klein and Robert Owens.

I came into the Equitable Public Space Fellowship knowing I wanted to work in the public realm in some nebulous way, but not being sure how people actually did it. The Fellowship helped me understand public space issues at a systemic level, and also the individual professional’s role and scope of impact in the field. Throughout the year, I worked as a valued member of several interdisciplinary teams, and got to contribute in a way that is not common for emerging professionals. Additionally, I was able to meet people through the Design Trust network who have brought their personal ethics and passions into their professional lives in meaningful and impactful ways – something I’d like to model in my own work. I’d recommend the fellowship for anyone looking to get both practical experience and a system-wide perspective on issues affecting our city.