Alumni News

Matthew Clarke Appointed Executive Director of the Design Trust

Bennington College trustee Matthew Clarke has been appointed the new Executive Director of the Design Trust for Public Space.

Image of Matthew Clarke in front of cityscape

Founded by Andrea Woodner '70 in 1995, the Design Trust for Public Space is currently celebrating 25 years of unlocking the potential of New York City’s shared spaces. Matthew Clarke brings valuable expertise to help guide the nonprofit into its next chapter as it navigates this unprecedented and challenging time ahead for NYC's public realm. 

A distinguished leader in the field, change-maker and ardent advocate for public space, Matthew brings over a decade of experience, advancing complex urban master plans, designing parks and public space, and implementing policies that build equitable communities. At the Design Trust, Matthew will be responsible for advancing the organization's mission, catalyzing new ideas and initiatives, and shepherding the nonprofit and the city’s public space movement into the post-COVID environment.

Matthew comes to the Design Trust from The Trust for Public Land, where he was responsible for strengthening the nonprofit’s network of national and regional partners, and fundraising for multi-million-dollar public space initiatives in his role as National Director of Creative Placemaking. Matthew authored the influential Field Guide for Creative Placemaking and Parks and has spoken regularly at major international events and conferences, including the United Nations and the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

“The Design Trust has been distinguished throughout its 25-year history for its innovative methods and partnerships," said Matthew. "Advocacy is a key component of the Design Trust’s work, as is working with community to define the value of public space for the future. As we emerge from this challenging time, which has hit New York City particularly hard, I am eager to begin working with an incredible team of experts at Design Trust to underscore the value of public space for every New Yorker, in ways that will make this city healthier and more equitable, and reaffirms the vitality of this great community."

Since its launch in 1995, the Design Trust for Public Space has been at the vanguard of the public space movement, working to foster new appreciation and commitment to New York City’s public spaces. Matthew’s track record in strategic planning, relationship building, and fundraising will be vital assets during this pivotal moment for the city.