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Collaborative welcomes new board members

The Community Design Collaborative is pleased to welcome Kevin Flynn, David Gest, and Lea Oxenhandler to our 2018 Board of Directors. They each bring unique skills and experience to the Collaborative, along with a strong appreciation for the impact of design on people, places, and organizations.

Kevin Flynn, PE, LEED AP is Vice President with AKRF, Inc., where he specializes in water resources and land development.

Kevin grew up in Chester County and, after working overseas for a number of years, returned to Philadelphia. “I’m fortunate to work in Old City with a view of Independence Hall, a daily inspiration for me.” When he's not busy working, Kevin can be found in the company of his wife and two children or surfing at the Jersey Shore. “I’m also a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and the young talent we have on all of our teams is making it really fun to be a fan right now."  

“My work supporting the Philadelphia Water Department’s green infrastructure operation and maintenance program over the last eight years has taken me to nearly every neighborhood, commercial corridor, and public space across the City,” says Kevin. “We’re frequently visiting these spaces to maintain green infrastructure assets and interacting with neighbors and community members in the process. I’ve seen firsthand how physical changes to public spaces – streetscapes, parks, schoolyards, etc. – and a shared commitment to maintenance and care of these public assets has a positive impact on a community in a relatively short time.”

“Design is inspired problem solving. And you don’t have to be an architect or landscape architect or engineer to be an inspired problem solver. When nonprofit organizations and community members see their inspirations and ideas take form through design there’s an incredible momentum paired with new knowledge on how a make the project a reality.”

“Design is inspired problem solving.  When nonprofit organizations and community members see their inspirations and ideas take form there’s an incredible momentum.”

David Gest, Esq. is a land use and real estate attorney with Ballard Spahr LLP, where he provides legal advice to real estate developers, governmental agencies, and nonprofits on land use, zoning, and historic preservation issues, and works with community groups and public agencies toward approval of development projects.

Originally from Washington, D.C., David has lived in the Philly area for about five years. “I love the density of Center City and the juxtaposition of skyscrapers with historic rowhouses. I love the small streets, the restaurants, the park system, and discovering historic buildings.”

David spends most of his spare time with his wife and two young children hiking around Philly (especially along the Pennypack Creek) and exploring historic buildings and neighborhoods.  “I’m also completely obsessed with ultimate Frisbee,” he adds. “Ultimate is being considered for inclusion in the Olympics and is played by millions of people around the world. it's a terrific team sport mixing athleticism with strategy and skill, defined by its self-officiating and positive ‘Spirit of the Game’ ethos.”

“I’ve been interested in architecture and urban planning for many years,” he says. “I was an architecture undergraduate major and went to PennDesign for urban planning.  I first developed an interest in city planning while working with the Housing Authority of New Haven during college and learning about the HOPE VI public housing program.”

“I think the design of public or communal spaces is crucial to a city's quality of life. Thoughtful, inclusive design of these places provides communities with safe areas for recreation and play and the opportunity for people who might not otherwise interact to communicate and learn from each other.” 

The design of public or communal spaces is crucial to a city's quality of life.

Lea Oxenhandler, AIA, LEED AP is serving as an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow and Architect/Design Manager at People’s Emergency Center Community Development Corporation (PECCDC). Her work focuses on the redevelopment of commercial properties for community benefit and the rehabilitation of affordable housing throughout the West Philadelphia neighborhoods that her organization serves. She also engages residents in PECCDC's creative placemaking efforts throughout the community.

Lea has lived in Philadelphia since 2009, when she moved here to attend PennDesign for her Master of Architecture. When not working, Lea likes to explore Philadelphia’s neighborhoods with her husband and two rescue dogs. She is also an avid traveler, and plans to visit New Orleans, Israel, Seattle, Portland, Japan, Nashville, Spain, Morocco and Portugal in 2018.

Her current practice is a natural outgrowth of her professional (and Collaborative volunteer!) experience. “While working at KieranTimberlake from 2011 through 2017, I helped found a Community Involvement group at the firm that takes on various pro bono and non-traditional design projects,” she says. “This allowed me to lead the Reactivating Vacant Schools design charrette hosted by the Community Design Collaborative in 2014, a project that reimagined new uses for vacant public schools across Philadelphia. This was my first foray in working with community organizations, which I continue to enjoy very much!”

“Design plays an essential role in revitalizing communities. While nonprofits and communities often have funding sources lined up, designers can add immense value to any project. Design thinking and visualization skills can help guide organizations in the decision-making process to create visible, lasting changes in neighborhoods and maximize their impact.”

Design thinking and visualization skills help organizations create visible, lasting changes in neighborhoods and maximize their impact.


Kevin, David, and Lea join the Collaborative’s Board of Directors, which also includes Jody Arena, Caritas Construction, LLC; Modesto Bigas-Valedon, AIA, WRT; Julie Bush, ASLA, Ground Reconsidered Landscape Architecture; Tavis Dockwiller, ASLA, Viridian Landscape Studio; Daryn Edwards, AIA, CICADA Architecture/Planning; Jeff Goldstein, AIA, DIGSAU Architecture/ Urbanism; Carol Horne Penn, Clemens Construction; Lee Huang, Econsult Solutions, Inc.; Rebecca Johnson, AIA Philadelphia; Robert Leonard,  Esq., Volpe and Koenig; PC; Megan McGinley, AIA, Kitchen & Associates; Darrick Mix, Esq., Duane Morris LLP; Charles Moleski, Becker & Frondorf; Paul Sehnert, University of Pennsylvania; Maria Sourbeer, Shift Capital; Julie Wiley, PE, Temple University; and Richard Winston, AIA, BWA architecture + planning.

Daryn Edwards, AIA and Richard Winston, AIA will serve as Co-Chairs of the Collaborative's 2018 Board of Directors. 



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