Established in 1898 as the Art Commission, New York City's design review agency was renamed the Design Commission in July 2008 to better reflect its mission. The Design Commission reviews permanent works of art, architecture and landscape architecture proposed on or over City-owned property. Projects include construction, renovation or restoration of buildings, such as museums and libraries; creation or rehabilitation of parks and playgrounds; installation of lighting and other streetscape elements; and design, installation and conservation of artwork.
The Design Commission is composed of 11 members, who serve pro bono, and includes an architect, landscape architect, painter and sculptor as well as representatives of the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Public Library. The Commission holds monthly public hearings in its offices on the third floor of City Hall, where it has resided since 1914.
The Commission also acts as caretaker and curator of the City's public art collection and maintains an extensive archive documenting the history of New York City's public works.
Chapter 37 of the New York City Charter, which defines the Design Commission's purview, and the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure are maintained online by the New York Legal Publishing Corporation.