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DDC’s program for exemplary public projects

The City of New York is committed to achieving excellence in design and construction across its portfolio of public works. As part of this commitment, DDC's Design and Construction Excellence program establishes expectations and goals for quality and innovation in architecture, engineering, and project delivery. The program utilizes strategies and practices that balance functionality, cost, constructability, and durability to bring form and meaning to public space.

Building on a tradition of design excellence

DDC’s Design and Construction Excellence program delivers high-quality infrastructure and public buildings that contribute to a thriving, equitable, sustainable, and resilient city. The program was originally established in 2004 to bring Quality-Based Selection to DDC’s public works. The Design and Construction Excellence program also supports DDC’s overall goal of ensuring quality and efficiency in all phases of project delivery throughout our portfolio.

Using practical strategies to improve project delivery

Design and Construction Excellence results in inspiring and enduring public projects built on time and on budget. The program encompasses all aspects of project delivery, from planning through design, construction, and completion. Integrated practices include enhanced project initiation and management tools, Quality-Based Selection, best value procurements, performance evaluation and management, knowledge sharing, and continuing education. These strategies—and others laid out in our Strategic Blueprint—ensure that capital projects are practical, constructible, and cost-effective.

Relying on partnerships and collaboration

Achieving Design and Construction Excellence requires collaboration in the capital project delivery process, prioritizing strategies that make responsible use of public funds and offer the best value for the City. DDC guides projects through complex and demanding project delivery processes in partnership with the most creative and experienced design and construction professionals. To support Design and Construction Excellence, DDC seeks architects, landscape architects, planners, designers, engineers, construction managers, contractors, and design-build teams who are dedicated, responsive, and collaborative, and who possess the management skills necessary to complete work on time and on budget.

Sharing the principles that guide our process

Design and Construction Excellence Principles define our broadest goals for the delivery of high-quality public projects. They orient our partners to the agency’s values by communicating expectations, sharing best practices, encouraging innovation and, above all, promoting excellence in design, construction, and project delivery.

Our process must be collaborative and transparent, incorporating thorough engagement and outreach. The spaces we build must be civic and community-oriented, as well as inclusive, healthy, and safe. And we must be responsible stewards of public investment, serving our own and future generations with public projects that are sustainable and resilient, while remaining functional, durable, and cost-sensitive.

Committed to minority and women-owned firms

DDC aims to create an equitable and competitive business environment while ensuring the agency’s procurement reflects the diversity of New York City. Projects in the Design and Construction Excellence program will be subject to carefully developed M/WBE participation goals for both design/consulting and construction activities. DDC has a dedicated office to support M/WBEs with one-on-one assistance, access to resources and workshops, information about funding and bonding, mentorship programs, and much more.

DDC Resources

Active Design Guidelines

Guiding Principles

Resources and Publications

NYC Resources

Aging in Place Guide for Building Owners, NYC Department for the Aging

Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines, NYC Mayor’s Office of Resiliency

Connected Communities Guidebook, New York City Housing Authority

Designing New York, NYC Public Design Commission

Design Resources and Publications, NYC Public Design Commission

Inclusive Design Guidelines, NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

Inclusive Design Guidelines: Sports and Recreation, NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

Neighborhood Planning Playbook, NYC Housing, Preservation and Development

New York City’s Roadmap to 80X50, NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability

One NYC 2050, New York City’s Strategic Plan

Percent for Art, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

Principles of Good Urban Design, NYC Department of City Planning

Research and Publications, Commission on Gender Equity

Safe Places, Active Spaces!, NYC Mayors Office of Criminal Justice

Street Design Manual, NYC Department of Transportation

Zero Waste Design Guidelines, NYC Department of Sanitation

Executive Director, Design and Construction Excellence: Michaela Metcalfe, AIA, CCM, LEED AP