City of Boston

Director of Civic Design

Posted Date 1 month ago(5/2/2023 10:13 AM)
Req ID
Mayor's Office
Regular Full-Time
May Mayors Office
Salary Min
Salary Max
Posting End Date
Contact Email


The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM) was formed in 2010, and serves as the City’s civic research and design team. We tackle projects that cover a range of topics, which includes everything from civic engagement to City infrastructure to public health. We work across departments and communities to explore, experiment, and evaluate new approaches to government and civic life. Civic innovation is more than just increasing government efficiency. It's also about improving the experience and well-being of people. So we ask: “How does Boston create more opportunities for more residents to shape their City and participate in civic life?” Our team brings a diverse array of backgrounds and experiences to the table in hopes of answering that question.


To ground this job description in values, here is an incomplete, over-simplified glimpse into some of the values we hold dearest as a team:

  • Trust + be trust-able. We aim to practice what we preach. We trust our partners (internally and externally) and work to earn their trust in return.
  • Be delightful. There’s a lot going on out there in the world. We believe in the value and heart of finding moments of delight in the everyday.
  • Reframe innovation as care. What if we thought about innovation not as “moving fast and breaking things,” but rather, as an exercise in care— caring for, caring with, caring about—and centered that approach as the novelty that we’re trying to institutionalize?
  • Lead with curiosity. An important role we often play for our partners is to bring a beginner’s mindset and ask the unasked questions. Our curiosity helps us learn more about the people, places, and prototypes we love. 
  • Engage in reliability + grace. We show up (sometimes before our partners even ask us to). We try to do so with humility, vulnerability, and grace.
  • Err toward entrepreneurialism. There’s a million reasons why something can’t be done. What if we lean toward a can-do spirit of “why not”?

What is Civic Design?

Civic Design challenges the notion of design as purely aesthetic. It looks at city challenges at a systems level and a human scale. The value beyond the tools of visual design is in bringing a generative and critical perspective to innovation. This position will continue to address projects and initiatives by leading with creativity in our framing, approach, solutions, and communication around city challenges.


The addition of a Civic Design Director to the MONUM team will enhance the City’s people-centered approach by providing creative direction and guidance to Mayor’s Office and partnering department’s projects, as well as further the MONUM team's design capacity overall. As a member of the MONUM team, the Civic Design Director will work closely with program directors - both one-on-one and in group settings - to guide their work from a design perspective and to inject meaningful insights into any new product, service or process, including:

  • Build a Holistic Civic Design Practice
    You will bring visual, process, and service design practices to bear on the team’s portfolio of projects. This will range from developing strong visual components to the work, to helping shape large city initiatives through a civic design lens.
  • Elevate Qualitative Research
    You will be charged with designing and workshopping research with project managers across the MONUM team to ultimately support the Mayor’s priorities. You will work closely with the Open Data Manager to elevate qualitative research alongside the robust quantitative data practices to better understand resident needs.
  • Help Tell The Story of Boston
    You will continue to build a strategy for MONUM’s civic design practice and storytelling work for the Mayor’s Office. You will also guide design efforts for broader Mayor’s Office projects. Your work will center on utilizing and sharing design tools meant to prioritize residents’ experiences in order to exercise a more inclusive practice.
  • Forge Inclusive New Partnerships with Citizens
    You will work to form new relationships and constructive partnerships within and external to government. Identifying opportunities for collaboration between the City, design institutions, and civic groups. You will spearhead new engagement strategies with residents that break the current mold. 

    Mentor & inspire the next generation of Civic Designers
    Use this position to engage young people and aspiring designers to consider public sector opportunities as a potential path for their careers. Work with MONUM leadership to develop and experiment with fellowship opportunities.

The Civic Design Director must: 

  • Have a strong ability to work and think creatively within complex human systems.
  • Significant expertise in behavioral research, service design, and visual design.
  • Be excited to build, fabricate, and create physical artifacts 
  • Express confidence in public speaking, project management and creative approaches to engagement. 
  • Be comfortable in asking critical questions in complex power structures.
  • Enjoy working through difficult socio-technical problems in a group environment.
  • Be able to thoughtfully mentor New Urban Mechanic summer fellows and youth fellowships as constructed
  • Support the entire team as the leader of MONUM’s design practice - this includes consultation, construction of materials, thought-partnership, critique of prototypes in various stages, and thought-leadership on civic design
  • Maintain a creative practice that fuels creativity across the team and within
  • Possess industry recognized expertise in at least one visual medium of design

We look for people with a track record that demonstrates original thinking and displays an ability to execute projects in fast-paced, challenging environments. We want team members who are comfortable self-starting their work, while also contributing to a highly collaborative office.  You must have a passion for cities and working with people!

Minimum Entrance Qualifications:

  • Minimum of four (4) years relevant design experience.
  • Master's Degree in a design-related field or commensurate work experience in a design practice.
  • Candidates should be strong relationship builders, comfortable with risk, and passionate about solving hard civic challenges with creative, original solutions.
  • Additional language proficiency in one of the City of Boston’s  top ten commonly requested language or American Sign Language is preferred.
  • Ability to exercise good judgment and focus on detail as required by the job.

Residency - Must be a resident of the City of Boston upon the first day of hire.


NonUnion, MM2-10

35 hours per week


Sorry the Share function is not working properly at this moment. Please refresh the page and try again later.
Share on your newsfeed