Public x Design is a follow-up to the 2016 Act Urban conference, organized by the Gehl Institute. We are inviting an international cohort of professionals from diverse disciplines who contribute to the vitality of public life in our cities. Last year, we defined what public life means to us and started to ask the questions that get at how we create a shared agenda for action. This year, Public x Design activates solutions for cultivating healthy, equitable, thriving public life.

Our program will feature curated site visits, shared learning experiences, applied policy analysis, and hands-on exercises developed in collaboration with Gehl Institute, our program committee, and invited participants.


Program Committee:

George Abbott, Knight Foundation

Ariella Cohen, Next City

Kimberly Driggins, City of Detroit

Lillian Dunn, The Village of Arts and Humanities

Cara Ferrentino, William Penn Foundation, Public Spaces program officer

Jessica Garz, Surdna Foundation

Diana Lind, Penn Fels Policy Research Initiative

Patrick Morgan, Knight Foundation

Michael O'Bryan, The Village of Arts and Humanities

Alex Peay, Rising Sons

Jeff Risom, Gehl Architects

Lynn Ross, Spirit for Change Consulting

Tayyib Smith, Little Giant Creative / Pipeline WorkSpaces




Mayors' Institute on City Design

Measure of America

MIT Civic Data Design Lab

NACTO/ Global Designing Cities Initiative

Neighborhood Design Center

New York State health Foundation


Next City

Nspiregreen LLC

NYC Public Design Commission


Place IT!

Queens Museum

RAND Corporation

Rocky Mountain Institute

Sidewalk Labs

Smart Growth America/Transportation for America

Spirit for Change Consulting, LLC


Studio Gang

The Kresge Foundation

Tiny WPA / Public Workshop

Transportation Alternatives

U.S. Green Building Council

University of Orange

University of Pennsylvania

University of Virginia School of Medicine

11th Street Bridge Park


Applied Theatre Collective


ArtPlace America


Center for Court Innovation

City of Buenos Aires

City of Detroit

City of Philadelphia

City of San Francisco

City of San Jose

City of Seattle

City of Toronto

City Parks Alliance

DAVID RUBIN Land Collective

Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services

Detroit RiverFront Conservancy

Dotte Agency

Downtown Akron Partnership

Drexel University

Eastern Market

Envision Downtown


Gehl Institute

GI Quo Vadis





About Gehl Institute:

We are committed to getting public life on the agenda of cities across the globe.

To demonstrate the value of public life we engage a diverse network of actors and create new knowledge.

Our mission is to transform the way cities are shaped by making public life an intentional driver for design, policy, and governance.