Catalyze transformative urban design and planning approaches

Boston Aerial (Credit: Lynn Media Global)


The Norman B. Leventhal City Prize has been established in honor of Norman B. Leventhal, the visionary developer and philanthropist whose contributions transformed Boston’s urban landscape. His civic leadership drove Boston’s urban revival, resulting in projects such as Rowes Wharf, Center Plaza, South Station, and One Post Office Square. In keeping with the mission of the MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) the Leventhal City Prize seeks to catalyze innovative urban design and planning approaches that will improve the environment and quality of life for citizens.


A prize of $100,000.00 USD will be awarded on a three-year cycle to an interdisciplinary team of MIT faculty to work together with either a government agency, non-profit or civic leadership organization. The winning team must demonstrate the potential to improve the quality of life in cities through an innovative urban design and/or planning project, and be able to incorporate the collaborative project in future teaching and research at MIT.

Parque Biblioteca España (Credit: Municipality of Medellin Reverse)


  • EXPLORE real world urban design solutions that foster social and environmental change
  • FOSTER new pathways for unconventional projects to get realized
  • CREATE innovative solutions using the most advanced knowledge available
  • CATALYZE collaboration between MIT faculty, students and urban civic entities

Equitable Resilience

In its inaugural year, the Norman B. Leventhal City Prize will solicit novel responses focused on Equitable Resilience. Equitable resilience brings to the forefront questions of inequity when planning, designing, and retrofitting cities for climate change preparations and its future impacts. Making equity a central goal for resilience efforts, we seek proposals from all geographies that aim to develop physical design solutions that “do not reinforce existing inequalities and won’t create new ones.”

The Greenway, Boston (Credit: Greenway Conservancy and Kyle Klein Photography)


February 2019
Call for Letter of Interest (LOI)
16 April 2019
Deadline for LOI submission
30 April 2019
Shortlist invited to submit full proposal
31 May 2019
Full proposal due
10 June 2019
Jury deliberation
End of June 2019
Winner and shortlisted notified
26 August 2019
Public announcement of recipient
September 2019
Funding commences
Spring 2021
Equitable Resilience Conference
August 2021
Funding period concludes


  • The team lead must be an MIT faculty member (or a member of the research staff with principal investigator privileges).
  • The team composition must demonstrate interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral involvement and must include either a government agency, non-profit, or civic leadership organization.
  • Proposals may build upon an existing relationship with a government agency, non-profit, or civic leadership organization, however the solution(s) presented must be new in its concept, development and application.
  • Teams must include at least three fields from the following list of expertise: landscape architecture, urban design, architecture, urban planning, real estate, economics, community development, civil engineering, environmental engineering. Team collaborators outside of MIT (for example, a city agency) must include one person with an advanced design degree. This individual does not need to be MIT affiliated, and can be a practitioner.
  • Teams must demonstrate their process for real-world community engagement, and should reflect their inclusionary values in their team composition.
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Post Office Square, Boston (Credit: Ed Wonsek)