A Blueprint for Public Realm Leadership

Implementation guide for a Deputy Mayor for Placemaking and the Public Realm

January 10, 2022

Unlike many other cities of its size, including Paris, Los Angeles, and Boston, New York lacks a central position within its government for planning and maintaining the public realm. In 2020, through the Future of Open Space series, MAS heard from advocates around the city on ways to improve active transportation, support small business, increase health, and celebrate our city. New York City has the opportunity to facilitate greater alignment between the myriad agencies that influence the public realm by establishing a centralized leadership role within the Mayor’s Office.

In this latest report, A Blueprint for Public Realm Leadership, MAS builds upon the initial call for a Director of the Public Realm in 2019’s Bright Ideas report and our previous policy brief outlining the structure of the office, A Public Champion for the Public Realm. This document is a roadmap for the creation of a Deputy Mayor for Placemaking and the Public Realm, a position within New York City government dedicated to improving intergovernmental coordination and oversight of public spaces and innovatively connecting people and the places they experience.

MAS is deeply grateful to the Greenacre Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and NYC Green Relief and Recovery Fund for their ongoing support of this project.

Download Report
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  • Systems, Access, and Comfort: Who is the Public Realm Designed For?
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  • What We Heard: Keywords from our Conversations
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  • Guiding Principles: Seven Keys to Success
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  • Public Realm Advisory Board: Key Governmental and Non-governmental Members
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guide leads a tour group and holds a Municipal Art Society of New York sign

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