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

MICD Just City Mayoral Fellowship

2022 MICD Just City Mayoral Fellowship

The MICD Just City Mayoral Fellowship is a program of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design in partnership with the Just City Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. This unique and highly interactive program brings together a small group of mayors to directly tackle racial injustices in each of their cities through planning and design interventions.

Seven mayors took part in the inaugural Fellowship in Fall 2020, as COVID-19 brought disproportionate harm to the health and economic well-being of Black residents and national protests around policing and public safety continued. The 2022 Fellowship continues this focus on planning and design solutions for the neighborhoods where these injustices play out.

Throughout the program, mayors will discover methods of identifying and engaging multi-sector coalitions oriented towards these goals and will be introduced to emerging best practices in the design of places and processes that promote urban justice. The program will include lectures from design scholars and professionals and facilitated workshops guiding mayors through the process of creating a language to discuss their future just cities. Throughout the fellowship, the mayors will construct a manifesto of actionable, context-specific strategies to yield these results. Mayors will also explore how new funding streams such as the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) can be used to launch transformational projects infused with justice ideals.

The program is expected to follow a hybrid in-person and virtual format between February and May of 2022.

Read more about the 2020 Fellows

Expected Time Commitment

The expected time commitment for mayors includes both in-person and virtual gatherings in Spring 2022:

Meet-and-greet during the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting (January 19-21, 2022, Washington, DC)
One-day opening session
 to introduce the curriculum (February 2022, Cambridge, MA)
Weekly one-hour meetings to continue the curriculum and conduct case study work (February – April 2022, Virtual)
One-day closing symposium
 to conclude case study work (April/May 2022, Cambridge, MA)


Participation in the 2022 Fellowship is very limited. Mayors of all U.S. cities (MICD alumni and mayors new to MICD) are invited to express interest in the program. Final invitations will be extended based on expressions of interest as well as geographic, ethnic, and gender diversity of the cohort. Mayors who express interest and are not invited for the 2022 Fellowship will be considered for future opportunities. Participating mayors will be encouraged to include 2-3 key staff members in the virtual meetings and case study work. 

The expression of interest period is now closed. For updates, please sign up for our mailing list here.


There is no cost to participating mayors or cities.


“The Just City Mayoral Fellowship provided me with knowledge and an expanded language for what urban justice looks like. The interactive curriculum created a structure that required me and my team to take a fresh look at our challenges and opportunities through a justice lens and reframe both our narratives and policies to towards an even more clear direction of equity and inclusion.”
Framingham, MA Mayor Yvonne Spicer
2020 MICD Just City Mayoral Fellow

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I express interest?

The expression of interest period is now closed. For updates, please sign up for our mailing list here.

Who is eligible?

All U.S. mayors are eligible to express interest. An authorized staff member may submit the expression if interest form 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 weekly virtual meetings.

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

If invited to participate in the program, we require that the mayor attend all in-person and virtual meetings. The time commitment for the ongoing virtual curriculum is estimated at 1.5 to 2 hours per week, which includes preparation time. A final schedule of in-person and virtual meetings will be provided with the invitation. In addition, mayors are encouraged to bring 2-3 staff members into the virtual meetings.

What makes for a strong expression of interest?

Ideally, the expression of interest will convey the mayor’s commitment to justice and the desire to rectify injustices through planning, policy, and design. We don’t expect that you will have all of the answers: this program is designed to support you in those efforts, and to give guidance and resources for new ways to address systemic challenges. That said, the expression of interest should detail existing conditions of injustice in your city and current efforts to address them, including the use of new funding streams such as ARPA.

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

This MICD fellowship, like our renowned “Institute Sessions,” is a hybrid of education, leadership development, and technical assistance. The curriculum will take mayors and their staffs through time, demonstrating how the combination of politics and design have caused lasting harm in communities. But it will also make apparent how these same tools may be used to subvert injustice, and to create the alternative futures for which cities strive. Throughout the program, mayors will apply lessons from the curriculum to an under-invested neighborhood in their city, developing a manifesto of action that combines planning, policy, and design initiatives.

How is the Just City Mayoral Fellowship different from typical MICD sessions?

Typical MICD sessions are 2.5-day intensive technical assistance workshops where mayors engage leading design and development experts to find solutions to the most critical planning and design challenges facing their cities. Each mayor presents a project from his or her city and receives feedback from other mayors and design professionals. The interchange sparks lively debates, generates new ideas, and inspires creative thinking. These invitation-only sessions are expected to return in Spring 2022. Please contact us at for more information.

The MICD Just City Mayoral Fellowship instead brings together a small cohort of mayors for both in-person and virtual gatherings over a semester-long program. Fellowship participants can expect a similarly engaging, candid, collaborative atmosphere in which to gain new frameworks for solving their cities’ challenges. However, the curriculum and case studies are all explicitly focused on racial justice and the built environment, taking participants through a series of lectures and workshops which culminate in a manifesto of actionable, context-specific strategies for each mayor’s area of focus.

How are you addressing public health and COVID-19 concerns?

All in-person meetings will follow Harvard GSD’s COVID-19 safety protocols and U.S. Conference of Mayors policy, including any vaccination, masking, and distancing requirements in place at the time of each meeting. Should restrictions on travel or gatherings make the in-person meetings impossible, the program’s components will be adjusted accordingly.

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

No; however, MICD programming may shift based on interest and funding for follow-up programs.

I’m a mayor who has not participated in MICD before. Am I eligible?

Yes, both MICD alumni and non-alumni mayors are invited to express interest.

I’m a design professional and want to offer my services. How can I get involved?

Harvard GSD is convening a Resource Team of justice-oriented design professionals for this Fellowship. To express interest in this or future MICD opportunities, please email the following information to 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.

Please contact us at or sign up for our email list for more information.