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This unique nonprofit organization, founded in 1881 by a group of young architects who wanted their own venue for creative and artistic development, offers a constant supply of top-notch architecture-based lectures (as well as installations and forums) that focus on development, urbanism, design and planning, especially as it affects the landscape of New York City.
The forward-thinking university – which includes the Parsons School of Design and various arts, music and urban studies divisions – hosts a series of public discourses for anyone interested in attending; if you can’t be there in person, the school’s website has webcasts available for downloading. Discussions have revolved around topics such as strengthening the middle class, recovering from the mortgage crisis in NYC neighborhoods, how to organize protests, global warming, and the history of the AIDS pandemic.