Urban Design

As we move through a city, our surroundings play an essential role in shaping our quality of life. Our streets, buildings, plazas, parks and other shared spaces—which collectively make up the public realm—help determine the city’s livability, comfort, and enjoyment.

Urban design focuses on how the elements of the public realm can be built and arranged to create a positive experience for everyone. Urban design decisions can affect climate risk, public health, safety, social equity, and more. Everything from the heights and shapes of buildings to the placement of benches on sidewalks are important considerations for creating a city centered around public life and for everyone to enjoy.

Urban Design at NYC Planning

NYC Planning enhances the quality of life and well-being of New Yorkers and visitors through good urban design. Visioning is an essential part of the urban design process. With community members, we discuss how future changes to a place could affect its look and feel. The goal is to build a shared vision by working together to understand current conditions, set goals, and test design ideas.

Our urban designers develop and constantly update public engagement tools to facilitate people’s participation in the planning process and make it easy to understand the City’s regulations and codes.

Our urban designers also provide guidance on buildings and neighborhood plans, conduct design research, and shape zoning regulations to ensure that new buildings and public spaces contribute positively to their surroundings and the city as a whole.

Our work is guided by a set of values and goals set out in NYC Planning’s Principles of Good Urban Design. Learn more about the Principles of Good Urban Design here.