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A leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the United States Conference of Mayors

MICD Alumni Technical Assistance

MICD Alumni Technical Assistance

Matching mayors with national experts in city design – at no cost to cities. Apply by Thursday, November 19.

To help mayors as they address the complex challenges facing today’s cities, the Mayors’ Institute on City Design (MICD) is pleased to announce a new program to offer technical assistance to MICD alumni mayors. MICD Alumni Technical Assistance will match selected mayors with a pair of nationally renowned design experts who will advise the mayor on their selected city design challenge.

Each mayor selected for this new program will receive advice on one of two types of projects:

(1)  Past MICD project: a next iteration of the city design case study the mayor brought to a previous MICD session

(2)  New project: a new opportunity tied to COVID-19 recovery and/or racial justice in the built environment

View the program overview flyer here: MICD Alumni Technical Assistance Flyer

Expected Time Commitment

The expected time commitment for mayors is to participate in two meetings at a minimum: one 60-minute meeting at the launch of the engagement, and one 90-minute briefing approximately 6 weeks later to review the expert recommendations. All meetings will take place virtually via video call.


There is no cost to participating mayors or cities; participation in this program is very limited. MICD will compensate the Resource Team directly for their time (estimated at 15-20 hours of consultation).

Eligibility & Selection Criteria

All MICD alumni mayors are invited to apply. Each mayor may submit one application for one project. Mayors are encouraged to include 2-3 key staff members in the consultation process, if selected.

MICD will select projects based on the following criteria:

(1)  Appropriateness of the project to either: advance a past MICD case study project, or address COVID-19 recovery and/or racial justice through a design lens

(2)  Appropriateness of the project for short-term assistance from an architect, landscape architect, planner, developer, or other design expert(s)

(3)  Level of creativity exhibited by the project topic

(4)  Buy-in from the mayor and relevant staff

(5)  Curating a group of projects that represent a diverse range of population sizes, geographic locations, and design challenges and opportunities

(6)  Consideration will be given to projects in neighborhoods that have historically been and continue to be underinvested.

Mayors: Apply Now

Applications are being accepted through Thursday, November 19, 2020. Click here to apply.

Informational Webinar

Recorded October 29, 2020, this brief webinar gives an overview of the MICD Alumni Technical Assistance program and what makes a strong application. Watch the recording below (21:21):

Resource Team Alumni Participation

The MICD Alumni Technical Assistance program will match selected mayors with a pair of nationally renowned design experts who will advise the mayor on the selected city design challenge. MICD Resource Team alumni are invited to indicate their interest in participation, and MICD will match mayors to two experts based on compatibility with the proposed topics beginning in November 2020.

Learn more about Resource Team eligibility, selection, and compensation: Resource Team Flyer

Resource Team: Express Your Interest Here

The Resource Team Expression of Interest Form is open through November 19, 2020. Click here to fill out the form.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?

The online application for mayors is now open here. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through November 19, 2020.

Who is eligible to apply?

All MICD alumni mayors are eligible to apply. An authorized staff member may submit the application on behalf of the mayor, while the mayor will participate directly if selected. Selected mayors are encouraged to bring 2-3 staff members into the consultation process.

What are some examples of eligible projects?

Projects must be either a past MICD project (a next iteration of the city design case study the mayor brought to a previous MICD session) or a new project tied to COVID-19 recovery and/or racial justice in the built environment.

  • Past project example: Our project has progressed since attending MICD, and we are seeking guidance on how to move forward in this new context.
  • New project example (racial justice focus): An elevated highway disconnects a predominantly African-American neighborhood from the surrounding area. How can we reclaim the space on/under/around the highway for the benefit of residents nearby? [“A Divided Neighborhood Comes Together under an Elevated Expressway”]
  • New project example (COVID-19 focus): We want to design temporary outdoor public spaces during the pandemic that feel welcoming and safe for all residents in neighborhoods where open space is lacking. [“Building Public Places for a Covid World”]

Can I request help with more than one project?

Each mayor may submit one application with one proposed project.

How involved do I need to be in this project as mayor?

As with in-person MICD sessions, the mayor will be the city’s primary participant. Mayors are encouraged to participate in as much of the project as they wish beyond the kick-off and closing meetings, and are encouraged to bring 2-3 staff members into the consultation process.

How long should the application take?

Once you’ve decided on a proposed project, the application should only take 5 minutes.

When and how will the consultations take place?

Consultations will take place via video call over a six-week period, beginning within approximately 2 weeks of selection. A summary report will be provided shortly after the last consultation.

Does my proposed project need to be the same project I brought to my MICD session?

The project can be either a continuation of a past MICD case study or related to COVID-19 recovery and/or promoting racial justice.

Can I request a specific expert (from my MICD session or otherwise) in my application?

Yes; however, we will be balancing many factors including availability and fit in selecting the Resource Teams.

What deliverable should I expect to receive at the conclusion of the program?

In the final meeting, the Resource Team will give a presentation of their recommendations for your project, based on the key questions identified in your application and initial meeting(s). This may contain funding strategies, design recommendations, implementation steps, and other next steps tailored to your project.

Does this opportunity come with any additional funding for follow-up and implementation?

No; however, you may include assistance with identifying potential funding sources among your key questions.

I’m a mayor who has not participated in MICD before. Can I apply?

This round is limited to MICD alumni mayors, but future rounds may be open to additional mayors. Sign up for our email list to be notified about future opportunities.

I’m an MICD Resource Team alum and want to offer my services. How can I get involved?

Please fill out the Resource Team interest form here by November 19, 2020. We will match mayors with Resource Team alumni based on expertise compatible with the proposed project topics.

I’m a design professional who has not participated in MICD before. How can I get involved?

While this opportunity is limited to MICD Resource Team alumni, please email the following information to so we can contact you if future opportunities arise: 1) your CV/resume, 2) a short statement about why you’re interested in MICD, and 3) 2-3 names of past resource team members who could speak on your behalf.