Each year, more than 4,000 students graduate with architecture and design degrees in New York City. That’s more than twice as many grads than any other U.S. city turns out each year, and about as many as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston combined. Although many architecture and design firms have struggled through the recession, a new report released by the think tank Center for an Urban Future reveals that design and architecture schools have served as a catalyst for innovation and economic growth in New York City.

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For architects and designers, where you go to school has a lot to do with where you’ll ultimately work or start a business, as evidenced by the fact that roughly 88 percent of Parsons grads remain in the New York City area after graduation. According to the report, nearly one in five graduates of Parsons, the Pratt Institute,  and the School of Visual Arts launch new businesses, and 56 percent of designers who don’t already own a business say they plan to start their own company. “Their graduates have produced dozens of start-up companies that set up locally—something that has eluded most of the city’s scientific research institutions,” says the report.

Those are impressive numbers, but the report says there’s still room for improvement when it comes to business training for architecture and design professionals. “In today’s economy, design and architecture schools need to do more than just groom top notch design talent; they need to prepare students for lives as entrepreneurs,” says the report, urging local design schools to help prepare students for the realities of starting new business ventures.

+ Designing New York’s Future

lead photo © Johnrenaud