PennPraxis

In the past decade, Philadelphia’s building boom has been accompanied by a string of demolitions touching almost every corner of the city, and resulting in the loss of everything from iconic churches to vernacular rowhomes.

We were only about an hour into the project when I found myself holding the corner of a 10x10 popup tent that was the leaky roof of our makeshift photo studio in a torrential downpour.

Photo: Betsey Suchanic for the Knight Foundation

The redevelopment of American cities over the last few decades has been a boon to urban real estate developers and others, but has often failed to improve material conditions in the most deprived areas. The authors of a recent report from PennPraxis and experts from across the country explore the promise and pitfalls of civic infrastructure.

Community conversations at the Citizens Planning Institute, a partner in this project

PennPraxis is excited to kick off its latest project, the Historic Preservation Citizen Engagement Toolkit.

Last summer, PennPraxis funded a project designed to bring design thinking and visual arts practices to youth development professionals. The goal of this project is to explore and measure how design leadership tools and practices and the integration of visual arts practices can inform youth development professionals’ work, inspiring them to find new and innovative solutions and approaches to their work while also integrating a studio style practice in an office setting.

PennPraxis is the non-profit arm of PennDesign that supports thought leadership and design action to advance inclusion, innovation and impact in places that don’t usually get the benefit of design—more than 95% of the world.

In the spring and summer of 2018, PennPraxis worked with a group of community liaisons and residents of twenty-one neighborhoods across the city to create the Neighborhood Preservation Toolkit

PennDesign students speak with community members at South Whitehall design and engagement event

PennPraxis is working with officials in South Whitehall, a small township on the outskirts of Allentown, to formulate a series of design ideas for improving its streetscapes and prominent public places.

A fall studio for second-year Landscape Architecture students focused on helping to shape the future of the Highlands region. Now, one town in New York is using the students' work to help secure funding for waterfront revitalization. 

Dolly Ottey Park, concept rendered perspective

Dolly Ottey Park is a new conceptual park located within the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia at the crossroads of the historic Elfreth’s Alley and North 2nd Street. PennPraxis’ Research Associate, Molly Lester, recently served as architectural historian on the pro bono team of design professionals that created a vision for the future pocket park, which was targeted for renewal due in part to the construction of the National building immediately adjacent to the site.

How did we learn what we know now?

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