General Guidelines

After proposals are formally reviewed by the Public Design Commission and the files are processed and certified, the reviewed materials are made available to the public.

The Public Design Commission Archive is open to the public, but materials are available for research by appointment only and on a limited basis. Requests are handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Researchers must submit the research request form, clearly indicating the information requested and how it will be used.

Submit Research Request

Research Topics

The archive includes projects for permanent works of architecture, landscape architecture, and art proposed on or over City-owned property dating from 1902 to the present. See Collections for descriptions of the Archive’s holdings. For a selection of materials from the Archive, visit our Flickr and Tumblr pages.


Researchers must abide by the following guidelines during research appointments:
  • All researchers must have an appointment. Failure to arrive at the appointed time may mean that staff will be unable to fulfill research requests.
  • Staff will bring all materials to researchers.
  • No eating or drinking is permitted.
  • Only pencils may be used while handling the collections.
  • Coats and bags may not be kept at the table while researching. Researchers are permitted to remove paper, notebooks, laptops, cameras and phones for personal use during appointments.
  • Direct tracing is not permitted.
  • Absolutely no material will be removed from the Archive by a researcher for any reason.
  • All materials must be handled carefully. Failure to do so or to observe the above guidelines will result in the removal of the material.


Researchers may take their own photographs with the permission of staff. Xeroxes, scans, and professional photographic reproductions will be made only under the auspices of the Commission. Reproductions are provided free of charge. Keep in mind that large volumes of reproductions and high-quality scans require a longer amount of time to complete. Researchers must inform staff if reproductions are intended for publication. When reproducing materials provided by the Commission, researchers must cite the Commission with the credit line, "Collection of the Public Design Commission of the City of New York."

Copyright Restrictions

Researchers should be aware that the Public Design Commission cannot and does not provide clearances or permissions to reproduce works owned by third parties. However, the Commission does make its collections and archives available to the public and provides access to information that may assist researchers in ascertaining what rights or permissions need to be obtained, and from whom, for the reproduction of works in publications or other media. Please be advised that the material that the Commission provides to you may be protected under the Copyright Act, 17 United States Code sections 101, et seq. Reproduction of the material; preparation or modifications or adaptations of the materials; or distribution of copies of the materials by sale, rental, lease, or lending may violate the Copyright Act. If you wish to make uses of the material beyond the fair use authorized by section 107 of the Copyright Act, please contact the copyright owner to obtain the appropriate license. Copyright information may be obtained through the Library of Congress.