PennPraxis

Our Mission

PennPraxis supports design action and thought leadership to advance inclusion, innovation, and impact in communities that design doesn't typically serve. PennPraxis does projects that demonstrate the power of interdisciplinary design, art, planning, and heritage preservation to respond to the major challenges of the built and natural environments, and the communities that inhabit them. Our projects strengthen the University of Pennsylvania's Weitzman School of Design as a school focused on high social impact design. We create opportunities "beyond the market" to help our students develop agency in the world, and we cultivate diversity among the next generation of leaders.

 

How We Work

As the center for applied research, outreach, and practice at the Weitzman School, PennPraxis provides opportunities for multi-disciplinary student and faculty collaboration through fee-for-service projects and money we raise to support learning through practice. We pursue projects that are in line with mission and practice areas, or brought in through our faculty collaborators, whose expertise and areas of focus are as diverse as they are vast. PennPraxis' work draws on the Weitzman School’s five departments and programs (Architecture, Landscape Architecture, City & Regional Planning, Historic Preservation, and Fine Arts). 

Each and every project we take on includes collaboration with diverse voices and expertise, both within the University and the communities in which we work. We work in Philadelphia, the surrounding region, and in other cities/regions across the globe. Each project includes collaboration with Weitzman School faculty, and partnerships with community organizations/liaisons in the areas in which we are working, to make sure that local expertise is central to project development from beginning to end. We understand that expertise comes as much from lived experience as it does from traditional education and practice.

Practice Centers

Latest News & Events

A man gestures to a drawing with two young people outside a brick building

Photo Huiyi An

A new initiative at Weitzman called Studio+ brings together faculty members and students in architecture, landscape architecture, historic preservation, fine arts, and city planning to elevate and reimagine the role of public-school buildings in collaboration with several West Philadelphia schools. “What we’re trying to do is propose new interventions to the problem of school facilities in Philadelphia,” Assistant Professor of City Planning Akira Drake Rodriguez says.

Birdseye view of grassy site with red-roofed L-shaped structure

Photo Kwesi Daniels

Launched last fall, Weitzman’s Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights sites is fostering new and ongoing partnerships while preserving the legacy of civil rights in the U.S.