Community Planning Fellow

Organization: Design Trust for Public Space and South Bronx Unite

Posted: November 13, 2017 | Closing: December 6, 2017

Job Description

Design Trust, in partnership with South Bronx Unite, will make the case for community-prioritized use of land and will explore the potential of the Community Land Trust as a model for public space in the Mott Haven-Port Morris area in the South Bronx.

Join our team on this new project, Power in Place: Building Community Wealth and Well-Being in Mott Haven-Port Morris by applying for a fellowship.

The South Bronx is home to a diverse community of committed residents, activists, artists and thinkers with exceptional resourcefulness and ingenuity who sustained the area through decades of environmental injustice and economic neglect.

Mott Haven-Port Morris in the South Bronx is one of the city’s largest industrial areas, where power plants, waste transfer stations, and truck-intensive businesses have caused a health crisis. They face asthma rates eight times the national average. Recently, this waterfront community has experienced a considerable surge in new development. 12 market rate rentals and six hotels will soon bring thousands of luxury residential units into this community, in which 38% of its residents and 49% of its children live in poverty, with an average median income of $19,454–the lowest in the state—and an unemployment rate more than three times the national rate.

Power in Place will create a mapping framework and a series of maps, develop a community-driven plan for this neighborhood and a communication toolkit to achieve community-desired outcomes. We want to ensure that the area’s residents, business owners, and workers have:

  • A place to continue to live and work in the area
  • A voice in the planning process
  • A means to develop financial equity, and
  • The tools to realize a healthy and sustainable future for their neighborhoods
The two Fellows will be joined by a third Fellow: Mapping Fellow Monxo Lopez from South Bronx Unite.
Community Planning Fellow
The Community Planning Fellow will lead the development of the Power in Place community-driven plan. Building on the project mapping effort and broad stakeholder engagement, the Community Planning Fellow will be responsible for leading:
  • Development and facilitation of a participatory planning process
  • Development of a community-driven plan for this rapidly changing neighborhood that sets forth a vision for public space in the study area to meet community-desired outcomes. The Plan identifies and prioritizes opportunities to create new and strengthen existing public space utilizing the CLT model
  • Strategies and recommendations to maximize the benefits for the area’s residents, business owners, and workers, given the limited land and built resources available to the community fellowship ActivitiesFellowship Activities
Fellowship Activities
Working with Design Trust staff, South Bronx Unite, and the Mapping and Participatory Design Fellows, the Community Planning Fellow will:
  • Devise an inclusive stakeholder strategy to bring together residents, business owners, workers and community groups to develop a shared vision, identify and prioritize needs and desired outcomes for public space in the area
  • Engage a broad range of stakeholders including developers and agencies to identify opportunities to create new or strengthen existing public space and to build relationships to facilitate community-desired outcome
  • Support the Mapping Fellow with research of the physical, demographic, economic, social, health and environmental characteristics of the study area and identifying data resources
  • Analyze the changing context (including historic and existing zoning, policies and plans) and its impact on public space, social capital, and community assets and identifying opportunities and assets to create and enhance public space
  • Research the existing and future (immediate and long-term) conditions of the study area; assess how new developments will affect the area’s public space and how it can inform approaches to creating/securing public space
  • Learn about the CLT model to understand its potential in building community wealth and cohesion, and delivering high impact public space in New York City
  • Develop strategies for the creation, operation, and management of the area’s public space to navigate the longstanding residents, local community and new residents conflicting priorities, capitalizing on synergies and acknowledging dissent
  • Lead the synthesis of community-desired outcomes and prioritize identified assets for community ownership through the CLT model
  • Create a series of draft maps, diagrams, sketches and other visuals to analyze various area’s conditions and synthesize community priorities
  • Develop strategies for innovative programming, alignment and use of space to maximize the benefits, given the limited land and built resources available to the community
  • Develop recommendations for the Power in Place Plan and prioritize opportunities considering scale of impact, community need and desire, city’s priorities and other factors
Candidates should have at least three to five years of relevant work experience and a graduate-level degree in relevant field, e.g. urban planning, city, and regional planning, urban design, landscape architecture, architecture. Candidates should have worked on multidisciplinary projects related to neighborhood planning and community development, especially in under-resourced and diverse communities; have significant experience in stakeholder engagement and graphically communicating complex issues for a broad public audience; working directly with and presenting to community audiences and working on collaborative projects or in teams. Strong spatial understanding and proficiency in GIS and Adobe Creative Suite (or other graphics software) required. Preference will be given to candidates with knowledge of alternative models of land ownership and affordable housing development. Fluency in Spanish is a plus.
Please follow the website link above to learn more about the Participatory Design Fellowship position.


South Bronx Unite is a coalition of South Bronx residents, organizations, and allies working together to improve and protect the social, environmental, and economic future of the South Bronx. They established a CLT, the Mott Haven-Port Morris Community Land Stewards, in 2015 to promote pathways to meaningful self-determination for the South Bronx.


The Design Trust for Public Space is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the future of public space in New York City. Our projects bring together city agencies, community groups, and private sector experts to make a lasting impact–through design–on how New Yorkers live, work and play. Our work can be seen, felt and experienced throughout all five boroughs–from parks and plazas to streets and public buildings.

How to Apply


Candidates should send a single PDF (maximum of 10 pages and 10 MB), including a cover letter specifying the Fellowship category for which you are applying, a resume or curriculum vitae, and a sample of relevant work to

The deadline to apply is November 30, 2017 at 5 PM.

Design Trust and South Bronx Unite will conduct interviews jointly. Interviews will be scheduled from December 11 – 15, 2017. Please note: candidates under consideration will be contacted by e-mail. No phone calls to Design Trust, please.

Selected applicants should be available to begin work the week of January 8, 2018 and remain available part-time through December 2018.

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