New York City is challenging its creatives to help design a better city. Last month, the City Council and the Department of Design and Construction unveiled Built/NYC, an innovative pilot stimulus program that asks local designers to create site-specific furnishings, textiles, and lighting for public buildings and parks. The promising new program boasts many benefits. Not only will it help support the creative economy by increasing exposure for local designers, Built/NYC will also be a great opportunity to improve quality of life for all New Yorkers through a better-designed public realm.

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Most cities typically outfit their streets with mass-produced furnishings designed and shipped in from abroad; New York City wants to keep that process in-house. “Instead of automatically purchasing a desk, a lighting fixture or other furnishings made in another country, we can allow the city to purchase products that have been designed and manufactured right here in the five boroughs,” said Mayoral Candidate and City Council speaker Christine Quinn in a press conference last month.

Thus far, the pilot program has been funded for ten to twenty projects that represent a variety of civic spaces, functions, design opportunities and locations across the city’s five boroughs. Commissioned furnishings can range from furniture, such as chairs in a children’s reading room, to etched mirrors in a park bathroom.

As part of a two-phase process, local designers are asked to first submit their qualifications to by Friday, September 13, 2013. Then designers will be selected for particular projects, each with an estimated budget between $8,000 and $60,000.

+ Built/NYC

Second image courtesy William Alatriste/City Council, Built/NYC