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CityGAP (Fall/Spring)




CityGAP is an outdoor, city-based, experiential program for participants age 18-25.

  • Engage with New York as a classroom, laboratory, studio and community.

  • Wrestle with the current challenges facing the city. 

  • Partner with city officials, artists, policymakers, journalists, performers, activists, entrepreneurs and more.

  • Create original group and individual projects in a variety of media.

Our program is for young people who want to connect with the world, explore their passions, master life skills, and make an impact with a supportive group of peers.


CityGAP provides a meaningful semester or year of achievement and exploration, launching students on an even more satisfying college or career path.

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Sample schedule from the second week of a 6 week project on waterfront resilience. Please click to enlarge


WHO: Our Participants

The CityGAP program is designed for young people who are...

  • seeking a meaningful semester or full-year experience

  • eager to be outdoors and active in the city

  • deferring their college experience until a better moment

  • looking for a social experience with a small, inclusive group

  • intellectually curious and open to new experiences

  • intrepid explorers (or seeking to become an intrepid explorer)

  • eager to master new life skills and become more independent

  • passionate about art, writing, science, performing, history, architecture, exploration, teaching, music, politics, statistics, digital design, public policy...


HOW: Project Cycles and Themes

  • Each semester is 14 weeks

  • We begin with a 3 week orientation, looking at NYC's social geography, architecture, neighborhoods, and institutions though our 5 Living City Lenses

  • We work in  10-12 week Group Project and Individual Project Cycles

  • We draw upon 12 pre-established project cycles, based on the passions and goals of our participants


The Form of the City: How are cities designed and how do urban form and architecture shape our destinies?

Resilient City: How can cities build back better in response to both acute crises and chronic challenges? 

The Just City: What are the ingredients of a just, diverse and equitable society and how do we achieve it?

City of Memory: How do cities build and rebuild their civic imagination and establish their identity? 

The City of Creativity: How does NYC inspire art and culture; and how do art and culture define NYC? 

12 Project Cycles
Form Follows Function

WHAT: Project Cycle Topics

We begin with 3 weeks of orientation, in which we explore the origins and organization of NYC, and learn to navigate and collaborate.  This introductory experience orients participants in the city and sets them on the path to master how the city works. We explore NYC’s street grid, transportation network and neighborhoods, architecture and monuments, and unique social geography, looking at the city through our “5 Living City Lenses.”
After the first project cycle, we do a 10-12 week Group Project designed in collaboration with the participants, based on their passions and interests, drawing from the 12 project cycle topicsbelow.
Each student also engages in a Individual Project in which they pursue a personal passion, or explore a new one, with our mentorship and guidance from our deep bench of partners.
The final products, determined by the participants, may include: exhibitions, design projects, podcasts, videos and documentaries, model-making,  public art projects, websites, op-eds, policy proposals,  performance, walking tours, etc. 
Of course, current events and student interest may transform a project cycle or produce a completely new one, as circumstances warrant. We have a deep bench of expert partners to make such flexibility possible.

"Form Follows Function"- Understanding and Navigating the Shape of the City

• How are cities located and designed, and how do architecture and urban form shape civic life?

• How do geography, history, politics, economics and civic technology shape the city?

• How do I navigate the city safely, efficiently, responsibly and openly?


A River Runs Through It- The Life and Lives of the Bronx River

• How are the histories of the Bronx River and its communities intertwined?

• How does the reclamation of the Bronx river impact the life of the South Bronx?

"Immigrants, We Get the Job Done”- Migration, Immigration, Opportunity and Diversity

• How do people come to, settle in and migrate through the city?

• How have migration and diversity transformed NYC into a city of distinct neighborhoods and cultures?

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"Graffiti is a Poem the City Writes to Itself"- Street Art, Graffiti, Muraling and the Art of Social Change

• How has graffiti brought hip-hop culture to the world?

• What is the relationship between street art, mainstream art and social change?


"Another Opening, Another Show"- Re-imagining Theater, Art and Entertainment in a New Cultural Plan

• How will Broadway, and NYC’s arts sector, re-open in response to the COVID-19 shutdown?

• What does an inclusive and empowering popular culture look like after the crisis?​

"Turning Wilderness into a Mart"-  Hunts Point Market from Farm to Table

• How should science, economics, culture and environmental justice shape our food delivery system and make it more equitable and sustainable?

• How does food get from farm to table in NYC? Who benefits and who pays?

"Here Is New York"-  City of Fiction; Fiction of the City

• How does NYC drive the literary, visual and cinematic imagination?

• How do fiction, art and storytelling determine NYC’s identity, now and in the past?


Resilient NYC- Equitable Waterfront Alternatives to the Big U

• How can we make our city resilient in the face of climate change?

• How do we make a more equitable plan for our waterfront communities?

"The Kind of Problem a City Is"- Moses v. Jacobs and the Fall and Rise of the South Bronx

• How do city governance and civic leadership transform a city?

• How should and do communities drive city planning?

Whose History?- Monuments, Statues and Remaking our Civic Imagination

• How do cities establish their origins and identity through commemoration?

• Who decides what we remember and celebrate in the public realm and how?

Rethinking Rezoning- Affordability, Gentrification and Displacement

• How does zoning drive development in NYC and what are the alternatives?

• How can we provide more affordable housing and rein in gentrification?

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Restaurants Re-Imagined - How Does Dining Return Post-Pandemic? 

• What do restaurants and consumers need to do to adapt to COVID-19?

• How can our restaurants and diverse cuisines survive and thrive post-pandemic?

Trains, Lanes & Automobiles  - An Equitable & Sustainable NYC Transportation System

• What would an integrated inter-modal transportation system look like?

• How can our transit system serve the city’s diverse communities and neighborhoods?

“I Hear America Singing”- NYC as the Cradle of American Popular Music

• How do migration and mobility converge in NYC to produce new popular music?

• How does NYC drive the evolution of popular music, from Jazz to Rock to Rap and beyond?​

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