The Mayors’ Institute on City Design was for 20 years a National Endowment for the Arts leadership initiative in partnership with the American Architectural Foundation and the United States Conference of Mayors. Since 1986, the Mayors’ Institute helped transform communities through design by preparing mayors to be the chief urban designers of their cities.
MICD achieves its mission by organizing sessions where mayors engage leading design experts to find solutions to the most critical urban design challenges facing their cities. Sessions are organized around case-study problems. Each mayor presents a problem from his or her city for the other mayors and designers to discuss.
Every year, the partner organizations plan and manage six to eight Institute sessions held throughout the country. Each two and one-half day session is limited to less than twenty participants, half mayors and half a resource team consisting of outstanding city design and development professionals. Mayors present a range of challenges, including waterfront redevelopment, downtown revitalization, transportation planning, and the design of new public buildings such as libraries and arts centers. Following each presentation, mayors and designers identify important issues, offer suggestions, and discuss potential solutions. The interchange sparks lively debate, opens new perspectives, and generates creative ideas. Members of the resource team also make presentations on the role of their profession in the process of city design, illustrated by outstanding examples and best practices.
Despite the intimate nature of its proceedings, the Institute has graduated more than 850 mayors. Many of these are still in office, and a half-dozen are either in Congress or in a governor’s mansion. The program has also graduated more than 600 designers who have often commented on learning as much from the mayors as the mayors have learned from them. Design is a two-way street, and the Mayors’ Institute was founded both to educate mayors about design and to educate the design community about the latest practical needs of our cities.
For a more information, visit MICD’s website.