January 2024 – WASHINGTON, DC – The Mayors’ Institute on City Design (MICD) and the Just City Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Design are pleased to announce the launch of the 2024 MICD Just City Mayoral Fellowship, taking place in a hybrid virtual and in-person format in Spring 2024.
The 2024 Fellowship will introduce mayors and their staff to the concepts of social impact and justice-centered design, equity framework measurement tools, and innovative design practices that increase just and equitable outcomes. The Lab’s Just City Index will frame dynamic presentations and dialogues with experts in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, art activism, housing, and public policy. Over the semester-long program, mayors will identify how injustices manifest in the social, economic, and physical infrastructures of their cities and develop manifestos of action for their communities.
The 2024 MICD Just City Mayoral Fellows are: Allentown, PA Mayor Matthew Tuerk; Dearborn, MI Mayor Abdullah H. Hammoud; Lima, OH Mayor Sharetta Smith; Long Beach, CA Mayor Rex Richardson; McMinnville, OR Mayor Remy Drabkin; Oakland, CA Mayor Sheng Thao; Racine, WI Mayor Cory Mason; and San Rafael, CA Mayor Kate Colin.
The Mayors’ Institute on City Design (MICD), the nation’s preeminent forum for mayors to address city design and development issues, is a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the United States Conference of Mayors. Since 1986, MICD has helped transform communities through design by preparing mayors to be the chief urban designers of their cities. The Just City Lab is a design lab located within the Harvard Graduate School of Design led by architect and urban planner Toni L. Griffin. The Lab has developed nearly 10 years of publications, case studies, convening tools and exhibitions that examine how design and planning can have a positive impact of addressing the long-standing conditions of social and spatial injustice in cities.
“Arts and design are critical elements of healthy communities, strengthening social cohesion and stewardship of place as well as contributing to more just and equitable outcomes for all people,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. “The 2024 MICD Just City Mayoral Fellows have a unique and valuable opportunity to deepen their understanding and knowledge about how communities work, how change happens, and the roles of arts and design as they build strategies to address real challenges in their own communities.”
“Mayors are making decisions and investments today that will affect their cities for generations to come. They take that responsibility seriously, and want to unite their communities around solutions to their most pressing challenges,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the United States Conference of Mayors. “Mayors are seeking bold, transformative ideas to bring equity and prosperity to their constituents, and MICD’s candid, small-group format and access to national design justice experts provides just that. With 23 mayors already having gone through this Fellowship, the value of this program is clear, and the United States Conference of Mayors is proud to partner with the Just City Lab to continue guiding mayors through today’s challenges.”
“I’m thrilled to see this valuable collaboration between the Just City Lab and the Mayors’ Institute on City Design continue for this fourth year,” said Sarah Whiting, Dean and Josep Lluís Sert Professor of the Harvard Graduate School of Design. “While this year’s cohort comes from very different contexts – some from the Rust Belt, some from the Midwest, some from the West Coast – each mayor faces similar complex contemporary challenges. We welcome them all to the Graduate School of Design, where they will have an opportunity to engage with our faculty and students, learn from our justice-centered curriculum and research, and leave with new expertise to further equity and opportunity in each of their cities.”