Mayors' Institute on City Design

Leading meaningful change across America.

Design affects far more than how a city looks. It impacts the way it runs, lives, feels, and grows.

By helping mayors address design challenges since 1986, we’ve changed the course of cities across the country, leading the way to substantive improvements in everything from public spaces to transportation to economic mobility.


Inspiring and empowering leaders since 1986.

  • 175+

    Institute sessions held

  • 1,200+

    mayoral graduates

  • 700+

    design leader alumni

  • National Impact

    Representing all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico & Guam

Areas of Impact

MICD programs address the most pertinent challenges facing cities today, while adapting and evolving as needs change with time.

Arts & Culture

Individual and community values are expressed and validated through arts and culture. We help mayors understand the expansive role that the arts can play in engaging communities, building connections, creating new narratives, and driving economic development.

Equitable Development

Mayors can meet the needs of underserved communities through policies and programs that reduce disparities, while fostering places that are healthy and vibrant. Whether addressing real estate, transit, safety, public health, or housing, we look at how mayors’ decisions can positively impact the lives of all residents.


We believe that every piece of infrastructure a city builds should contribute to the human spirit. We help mayors understand how to build partnerships that ensure infrastructure investments are resilient, sustainable, and lead to a greater quality of life for their people.

Policy & Planning

Municipal actions, laws, and processes can all impact city design. Bringing together experts across design fields, we help facilitate conversations around policy so that mayors are informed and empowered to bring their vision to life.

Public Space

Public spaces, including parks, streetscapes, plazas, and waterfronts, often define a city. Our programs help mayors understand how these spaces can be created so that they are welcoming, useful, and unique to their community.


Every city has neighborhoods that have suffered disinvestment and decline, despite often having resilient and steadfast residents. We help mayors lift the voices of their neighborhoods, leading to revitalization that celebrates culture and legacy, and does not lead to displacement.

In the past 5 years

We’ve worked with mayors in 148 in-depth engagements across the country from 2018-2022.

Our Programs

Making an impact from coast to coast.

Over 1,200 mayors across America have workshopped critical challenges facing their cities through MICD programs. View our list of past participants to see all of the mayors who have attended and their corresponding sessions and cities.

View Past Participants

Ready to lead with design?

Contact Us