The Urban Laboratory® community and urban design studio was founded in 1963 by distinguished urban designer and scholar, David Lewis, FAIA. The program emerged from a period of heightened social activism within design professions and awareness of the failures of top-down urban planning projects of the time. It was one of the first initiatives by any university to enfranchise local citizens by initiating new public forums for collectively addressing urban design. Over the years, the Urban Laboratory has shaped and been shaped by professional applications of participatory urban design as demonstrated through the work of Regional/Urban Design Assistance Teams (R/UDATs) of the 1960s, the first community design centers of the 1970s, and the founding New Urbanist visionaries of the 1980s and 1990s.