After Carbon Forefront Fellowship, Urban Design Forum

After Carbon Forefront Fellowship


Buildings play a major role in today’s climate crisis, contributing nearly 70% of New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions. New York City’s recent landmark legislation, Local Law 97, mandates cutting emissions among the largest buildings by 80% by 2050, laying the groundwork for a decisive transformation of the built environment.

Yet to advance a just transition to a carbon-neutral city, New York must also develop a more equitable and inclusive economy.

Too many New Yorkers—many of whom disproportionately suffer the burdens of climate change—struggle to generate wealth from their work. From 2012 to 2016, more than 20% of Black, Asian, and Latinx New Yorkers remained at or below the poverty line. From 2007 to 2012, Black-owned businesses in the City declined by 31% while business creation jumped 45% in 15 gentrifying neighborhoods.

Rectifying the racial wealth gap is as urgent and daunting a challenge as climate action.

Local Law 97 is expected to spur exponential growth in the market for building energy retrofits. Without coordinated efforts, the City will miss the chance to cultivate economic opportunity for minority- and women-owned enterprises, employee-owned businesses, and workers of color.

Our 2020 Fellowship, After Carbon, explores how New York City’s commitment to clean energy will transform the built environment, advance economic democracy, and affirm environmental justice.

In Phase I, Fellows will partner with the Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and the Mayor’s Office of M/WBE to address how building retrofits mandated by Local Law 97 can create economic opportunity for MWBEs and employee-owned businesses.

In Phase II, Fellows will work in independent teams to investigate broader design and equity challenges in achieving a just transition to a clean economy.


For more information regarding application timeline and further details, you may also view the Fellowship’s digital booklet.