PennPraxis is undertaking research and civic engagement activities addressing several knowledge deficits that are crucial for the long-term sustainability of civic investments, and telling the story of Philadelphia’s work on public space, community infrastructure, and civic commons issues to other cities.
PennPraxis’ project consists of two parallel elements: a series of research papers and convenings, documenting and assessing best-practices; and a series of public conversations to inform the investments being made in Philadelphia and convey to national audiences the innovative work being pursued in Philadelphia. The first phase of this work is underway, including a white paper framing issues of best-practice and innovation nationally in relation to civic infrastructure. It focuses on conceptions of civic assets and the governance, finance, design and political tools that are being used across the country to produce, elevate, and enliven public spaces and community facilities. Subsequent phases are planned to research a subset of these themes in depth.
The project is supported by the William Penn Foundation. The project team is led by former PennPraxis Executive Director Randy Masonand Elizabeth Greenspan, an urban anthropologist specializing in the politics and cultural meanings of public space.