Neighborhood Design Project

Building capacity for local economic development by empowering young people to use their creativity as a force for change.

Neighborhood Design Project teaches youth design skills in an accessible, engaging, and meaningful way — along with professional development for adults who support and guide youth in Cambridge, MA. Six teams of 6-10 youth between 14-18 years old participate in a 14-week program. With the help of mentors and coaches, leaders in the design and innovation economies, teens learn strategies for problem identification and empathetic research methods before engaging with their communities to understand problems, identify livability challenges, and use creative problem solving to explore solutions. The program culminates with a presentation showcase and public exhibition of the work.

Neighborhood Design Project is on for Spring 2021 with Cambridge students participating virtually.




  • 14-week program

  • Teens are paid for their time

  • 6 teams, throughout the city of Cambridge

  • 6-10 youth per cohort, each paired with a mentor and design coach

  • Focus on problem solving, job skills, and creating solutions

  • Outcomes presented through special event & exhibition

  • Connections to mentorships, internships, and resources

The solutions our youth develop will improve livability for the whole City of Cambridge.”

Louis DePasquale, City Manager, City of Cambridge

As Cambridge continues to change at a dizzying pace, it’s a critical time to create places where young people feel empowered, engaged, and prepared.”

Khari Milner, Co-director, Cambridge Agenda for Children

Our young people need to make connections with mentors and gain skills for this economy.”

Melissa Castillo, Division Head, Youth Programs, City of Cambridge