The Restorative City

The Design Trust for Public Space’s latest request for proposals (RFP) reimagines how we design New York for the health and wellbeing of all communities. Learn more about our winners below:

Learn More


In tandem with our RFP theme, The Restorative City was a one-day convening bringing together urban planners, city officials, neighborhood advocates, and public health experts to center health equity in the design and planning of New York City.


In New York City, an individual living in the South Bronx has a life expectancy of 69.5 years; a resident of the Upper East Side has a life expectancy of 89.5 years, 20 years longer. Where we live matters, and where we live is too often governed by exclusion, racism, and discrimination.

Public health officials and medical professionals have known that a person’s zip code is a better predictor of one’s health rather than genetics or lifestyle choices. Only 20% of health outcomes depend on access to and quality of medical care. 80% of health outcomes depend on our physical environment – the world and people around us shape our wellbeing. While access to hospitals is important, communities with access to parks, transportation, well-resourced schools, adequate housing are more likely to be healthy.

This is a call to action for urban planning, design, and public policy professionals and all those involved in shaping the physical environments in which we live, work and play. This RFP cycle, the Design Trust searched for projects that will shape New York shared spaces and environment in ways that can make us healthier.


  • The Neurodiverse City, a collaboration between Verona Carpenter Architects and WIP Collaborative with the support of Center for Independence of the Disabled-NY, Bronx Independent Living Services, INCLUDEnyc, and P.S. 42. The initiative advocates for public spaces in our city that offer inclusive zones where all of us, including those with “invisible disabilities” and sensory sensitives, can come together and find common ground.

  • Healing Hostile Architecture: Design as Care, led by Design as Protest, a collective of BIPOC designers and advocates. The initiative supports the development of community-driven design policies and new regenerative, design models to replace hostile environments and provide care for unhoused populations. Message from the Design Trust for Public Space: As of April 2023, Design Trust for Public Space will no longer be partnering with the Design as Protest Collective (DAP) on the Healing Hostile Architecture project. Both Design Trust and DAP recognize the urgency of this work, which has only become more critical since the proposal, “Healing Hostile Architecture,” was submitted in the spring of 2021 to our Restorative City Request for Proposals aimed at building community wellness through public space. The Neurodiverse City project, also chosen as a winner of the RFP, will continue on. We support DAP in their ongoing work engaging communities directly to co-design safe and non-policing environments. The Design Trust for Public Space stays committed to transforming the public realm into a welcoming and inclusive space for all.

  • An Honorable mention was given to Forest Avenue COMEUnity Fridge Fellowship Program, which creates opportunities for local youth to support a mutual aid network targeting food insecurity through the transformation of an underutilized space in Staten Island. Learn more about our other finalists here.

Download the Request for Proposals (RFP)

The Design Trust encourages applicants to consider...

How can public spaces support healthy lives?

How can our streets and sidewalks be reimagined to help our communities thrive?

How can neighborhood design improve mental health?

How can we reduce the environmental injustices affecting marginalized communities?

How can we frame climate resiliency as an urgent health crisis in our neighborhoods?

How do we reckon with systemic racism present in urban planning and policy in order to build more just communities?

How can we use art, culture, and heritage to lift up all definitions of wellbeing?

Past events

Information Workshop
Monday, May 3

view recording

Information Workshop
Friday, May 7

view recording

Information Workshop
Friday, May 14

view recording

Restorative City: In Conversation with Sekou Cooke, Denard Cummings and Dominic Ramos-Ruiz
Tuesday, May 25

view recording

Restorative City: In Conversation with Ifeoma Ebo, Haana A. Hamdi and Elizabeth Hamby
Thursday, August 5

view recording

Restorative City: In Conversation
Thursday, October 14

view recording