Community Education

Making Policy Public
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About Making Policy Public

While the effects of public policies can be widespread, the discussion and understanding of these policies are usually not. CUP’s Making Policy Public (MPP) poster series aims to make information on policy truly public: accessible, meaningful, and shared. We want to create opportunities for advocacy organizations to reach their constituencies better through design and for designers to engage social issues without sacrificing experimentation.

Once a year, CUP issues a call for groups working to explain complex policy issues to a particular constituency. A jury of design and policy leaders selects four projects that would benefit from a visual explanation, and that would contribute to a positive social justice impact. CUP then issues a call for designers who would like to collaborate on these topics, and the jury selects the final teams.

Over the next several months, CUP manages the collaborative design process, provides art direction, research assistance, and an honorarium for the collaborators. The resulting publications are used by the organizations to better reach their constituencies through innovative design. Because they are portable and use visual explanations to break down complex issues, the publications make policy accessible and interesting to non-experts.

Publications are distributed directly by advocacy partners to their constituents and to other advocates working on the issue. In addition, CUP distributes the posters to audiences interested in art and design. Over 40,000 MPP’s have been distributed to date, directly to the people who most need to know about these important issues, from longshore workers to juveniles who have been arrested. The publications are contributing to policy wins and more effective public participation for groups from public housing residents to street vendors. They have also been lauded as models of socially-engaged design at such venues as the Cooper-Hewitt’s National Design Triennial.

Buy or download copies of the posters here. If you have any questions about our program or our open calls for advocates and designers, please reach out to


You know a lot less about New York than you think. These graphics prove it
  • Fast Company
  • April 14, 2021

A new book breaks down one of the most built-up cities in the world.

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A Guide to Your Rights in Homeless Shelters
  • City Limits
  • February 19, 2020

The Safety Net Project of the Urban Justice Center, the Safety Net Activists, the Center for Urban Pedagogy and design studio 13 milliseconds this week released a pamphlet outlining the rights that homeless individuals and families have in New York City. It covers everything from privacy to diet, voting to disabilities, public benefits to income savings; explains supportive housing and vouchers; talks about how to get a fair hearing and how to seek permanent affordable housing.

How Graphic Design Can Help Advance Social Equity In Cities
  • Next City
  • November 19, 2019

This approach has been championed by organizations such as the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), who produce visual explanations demystifying urban policy issues — from food access to street vending — so that more individuals can better participate in shaping their communities.

101 small ways you can improve your city
  • Curbed
  • November 02, 2018

Fix up your local park. Does barely functional equipment take the fun out of your local playground? Would new basketball courts or equipment make the park next door more enticing? To help guide those seeking to get their public parks in tip-top shape, the Center for Urban Pedagogy created a guide for building coalitions, activating the community, and petitioning local government for change. It’s New York-centric, but the lessons can be applied everywhere.