Posted June 14, 2016
  • PennDesign students prepare for the community clean up of North Philly Peace Park.

  • PennDesign students onsite at North Philly Peace Park.

  • Community members at North Philly Peace Park 

Social Impact Project "Reclaiming Sharswood" kicks off event with North Philly Peace Park

PennDesign’s Diverse Design have been working with North Philly Peace Park and Habitat for Humanity of Philadelphia to plan a multi-day event, starting with Wish Upon A Park: June 15th Rebuild Kickoff. The 4-day event will be held at the North Philly Peace Park (2200 Jefferson Street) from June 15th to June 19th, 2016.

Diverse Design, a consortium of PennDesign students focused on promoting and celebrating diversity at the school, has partnered with North Philly Peace Park over the past several months to plan the event, focused on cleaning up the future site of the North Philly Peace Park in the Sharswood neighborhood of Philadelphia. Sharswood has received much attention in recent months surrounding the multi-year $500 million Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) redevelopment around the Norman Blumberg Apartments. The neighborhood was the subject of a 2015 studio in the Historic Preservation program at PennDesign.

The connections made through this studio, and the community built by Diverse Design, led the students to pursue a PennPraxis Social Impact Grant in 2016. The students chose to focus on Peace Park, a beloved amenity built through the work of Sharswood’s involved residents and advocates, that was relocated as a result of the PHA plan, requiring a new site to be cleared and designed.

The students planned a Phase 1: Rebuild/Redesign, which involves lot clean up, shed and pathway construction, art, gardening, and overall sprucing up. In Phase 2, they propose to develop more robust programming at the park, and also prepare a National Register Nomination for the Dox Thrash House, a threatened historic resource located nearby.

The students and their community partners are still seeking volunteers for the 4-day clean-up event. Interested volunteers may sign up here:!/showSignUp/4090d44aca622abfb6-north

Related links:

A garden, a redevelopment plan, and a fight over who owns a neighborhood in Philadelphia

Historic Philadelphia,” Rethought 

Remaking Sharswood: Taking a neighborhood through eminent domain in the name of ‘transformation’