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Design Matters - July 2021

Site of Urban Creators - one of our Design Projects Kicking off this month


We hope you are enjoying the onset of the summer months. It’s been a season of transition as many operations increase capacity and places gradually reopen.  After a period of uncertainty and restriction, many of us are adjusting to the new normal and rules of engagement.

This is true for our team at the Collaborative as we are learning new ways to operate and deliver the best services to our clients. Recently we shared on social media images from our first in person events in over a year.  We appreciate our willing clients and dedicated volunteers for their patience and trust as we hosted in person site visits and a face to face stakeholder engagement to projects we have finally been able to kick off.  We also appreciate the client representatives and their stakeholders for working with us to create environments that were comfortable and safe for all involved.  We look forward to more opportunities to reconnect with all partners. clients, and fellow Philadelphians as we return to some of our typical operations!

As designers, this transition presents new opportunities and challenges to ponder. The world has experienced a collective shift, but we are resilient together. We will work together to restitch, rebuild, and regroup.  Over the past year many of us had time to pause and reflect, giving time to reassess our environments, interactions and lives. Perhaps you finally considered a long- overlooked inefficiency, have had to make adjustments to an existing condition or used the time to reprioritize goals. Whatever the need- the Collaborative is here to offer design support.

Our new reality will need well designed solutions. Solutions that respond to all the lessons learned and encourage us all as we reengage in our public spaces.  The Community Design Collaborative promises to be a partner as we all take these steps forward. We encourage our community based organizations to bring us their design challenges so we can all make plans to rebuild together!

-Team Collaborative


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As we start the third quarter of 2021, the Collaborative has been excited to kick off many projects that had been delayed. We have a variety of exciting core grants and technical assistance projects on the boards that range from master planning of a local asset to the onset of a multi year initiative focused on literacy and playful learning. 

We will have a number of exciting volunteer opportunities available in the coming months.  July also celebrates the return of our monthly Design Reviews via virtual convening. The Center for Architecture is planning to reopen in September and we are preparing to welcome back our volunteers and public to our space.

We invite all our volunteers to join us this fall for AEC Cares Day on September 22nd at the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission to help implement the conceptual design from our rockstar team. Be on the lookout in your email for details about how you can sign up. If you have not been seeing our emails, please reach out so we can update our records.  We have a lot of great design opportunities on the horizon and we look forward to sharing what we have been moving forward as we work from home. We are ramping back up and eager to serve!


Looking to use design as a tool for social good? We are hiring!  

The Community Design Collaborative is building out our Design Services team with a Design Services Director and Program Manager. 

Our Design Services team is responsible for the administration of our Core Grants program, the implementation of initiatives and public charrettes, and the coordination of our technical assistance. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply!  

Click HERE to view the listings!

Philly ROW Program

 As you may know, building parklets, and pedestrian areas in the street makes neighborhoods healthier and more vibrant, promotes safety by reducing car crashes, and creates neighborhood green spaces, But, carrying out improvements can be expensive and sometimes difficult for communities to implement on their own. 

The Collaborative is working with a local non-profit program (StreetBoxPHL) to support community stewardship of the Right-of-Way (ROW). StreetBoxPHL wants to support neighborhoods and expand improvements in the ROW by providing the support you need. In order to assure that we are being responsive to the needs and aspirations of the community organizations that work in Philly’s neighborhoods, we need your feedback on this survey.  

We want to know how community organizations, such as yours, across the city work together to impact positive change in the ROW. 

Please take 7-10 minutes to complete this survey: 


We Welcome a New Corporate Champion

Milber Makris Plousadis & Seiden, LLP – a law firm well known in design circles and beyond – recently became a Corporate Champion. Thank you for this generous, increased support that boosts our work throughout the year. 

Learn what inspired Richard Davies and his team to take this significant step.

Corporate Champion sponsorship sets the pace for the firms who care about equity in access to design services. 

Get the details Here and consider joining this leadership group. 

Leverage 2021 Retro

More than 200 gathered June 3rd for a fun and festive evening online celebrating the Collaborative’s 30th Anniversary. We honored the Founders whose vision and dedicated service fostered the growth of community-engaged design throughout Greater Philadelphia.    

Guests enjoyed free form mixing and mingling that allowed them to find familiar faces and meet new people. There was a gallery of the 30 featured projects to explore and a short video sharing the voices of clients and volunteers. After additional networking and the 2021 Leverage Award presentation, we concluded the evening with a thoughtful panel discussion with three founders. 

Thanks to everyone who joined us for your high spirits. We are grateful to the many sponsors, donors, and individuals who believe the Collaborative’s work is valuable and supported it through this year’s virtual event. 

Read and See More About Leverage 2021 Here.

FEATURED VOLUNTEER:  Amanda Bonelli, Architect 

Meet Amanda, architect at Bright Common and one of the Collobarative's volunteers. Through her work with the Collaborative, Amanda was able to step out of her comfort zone, growing her expertise and network by serving on cross industry teams. 

We spent time with Amanda to talk about her passion for Philadelphia, the presence of women-indentified persons  in the AEC/design community and her burgeoning love of Fairmount Park.

Read about Amanda's experience with the Collaborative Here.


  • Congratulations for opening of the On The Rise Exhibit, featuring 2021 PEA Prize Winners to Collaborative volunteers David Quadrini of Studio 6mm and Jeremey Avellino of Bright Common.
  • Congratulations to Collaborative volunteer Jeremy Avellino and Bright Common for being awarded Architectural Record 's Design Vanguard. Read the article about Bright Common's inventiveness and innovation here
  • On July 14th, Tya Winn served on the panel of distinguished judges for the Parkway Design Workshop at the iconic Barnes Museum.  The Workshop hosted the presentations of three finalists in the Parkway Revitalization project. Our Corporate Champion, DIGSAU was a finalist and Collaborative volunteers Atkin Olshin Schade (AOS), David Mason Associates, Envision Consultants, and Urban Engineers were each on teams.  


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