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Design Matters - September 2021

The Way Forward Through Community 

We are in transition season. The summer heat is cooling off giving us beautiful days. The crisp air lets us know Fall weather is on the way. 

Transition could not be any more accurate to describe this season, this year. May of us returning to offices perhaps on modified schedules greeted with new polices for mask wearing and santization. Many of our partners are busy with projects resuming but short staffed due to illness, changes in life schedules and life changes. 

The city looks a little different too - colorful streeteries line the streets while the remenants of the destructive path of Hurricane Ida is still visible.  We see so many store fronts boarded up from the last year and half of the pandemic, waiting for their next inhabitants. 

This weekend also marked the 20th Anniversary of 9/11.  This Anniversary poignantly asks the questions, How do we move forward? How have we changed? 

The Collaborative is asking the same questions. How can the design community lead the way foward to a more just and equitable enviorment?  We do know the way forward is through community. It is through dialouge to inform action.  The answers lie in our neighbors and peers to evovlve into the new 'now". 

September and October bring opportunity to invite conversation with the hope to inpsire new collaborations and ideas to that end. 

We welcome with open (and active!) arms the return of tride and true Collaborative traditions  -  Park(ing) Day is this Friday, the first in-person Design Review and AEC Cares Day return of next week.

We are proud to announce the Collaboratve has been selected for a residency with the Center for Architecture Lab.  The residency kicks off today and will run through October 31st.  We have designed a content rich residency to explore the 30 years of Equity in Design, exploring the past, present and future of design justice in the built enviorment. 

The residency will run during two premier Design Festivals, Design Philadelphia + Archtober. We have the vantage point to celebrate both of these Festivals and will host For Us, By Us: Activating Community Agency on October 9th. This dual-city event will feature a panel conversation on the movement of community engaged design on a global scale.

Finally, we will bring the conversation back home with the 3rd Equity Talks, entitled The Latino Persepctive on September 27th. 

It is in the spirit of community and gathering, collaboration and exhange we move forward, out loud. 


Park(ing) Day Installation

The Collaborative is proud to return as a partner in Park(ing) Day. Held this year on September 17th, the number of parks throughout Philadelphia will increase dramatically when activists, artists, architects, and other citizens transform metered parking spaces into temporary public parks. Known as PARK(ing) Day, this annual event re-imagines the possibilities of 160 square feet of public space. The event celebrates parks and other public spaces in cities across the country and raises awareness of the need for more pedestrian-friendly spaces in our urban areas.  

Come visit our installation of a Modular Learning System with the Center for Architecture’s Architecture Design Education Program led by LRK at 12th and Arch Street on Park(ing) Day to say hi!  


Open to all Collaborative Volunteers!

Please join us if able for our next design review Sept 21, 12-1:30pm (virtual) with the Life Do Grow Urban Farm conceptual design project. This will be an exciting presentation by Collaborative Volunteers discussing this North Philadelphia community-managed urban farm and their goals and dreams to make the campus sustainable while expanding their community led programming.

Please email for the zoom link to join the meeting.  


The Collaborative continues to build on its partnership with Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission. We have joined forces with AEC Cares Day to bring this day of purpose and service to the Mission.

Historically, before the AIA’s Conference on Architecture, construction industry professionals gather for AEC Care’s Day of Service. This event provides a positive impact on the host city’s community. This year, the Day will be held on September 22nd at Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission. The Collaborative volunteers will be implementing the volunteer design teams refresh of the extended living floor for their guests in residence. Come see what our volunteers have dreamed up in support of a great organization combating housing vulnerability in the city. Sign up to volunteer at


Our 30th Anniversary Celebration Continues – a Fall Gathering 

Did you know that the Collaborative is part of a larger community design movement? We continue celebrating our 30 years of pro bono designs services by presenting a thought provoking two-city panel discussion:

Design For Us, By Us: Activating Community Agency
October 9th (10 am – 1 PM) 

Panel discussion and casual lunch
Center for Architecture and Design
1218 Arch Street, 1st Fl (Philadelphia) 

Our co-host is New York City’s Center for Architecture, a leading cultural venue for architecture and the built environment informed by its urban fabric and in dialogue on a global scale. Plus, the event coincides with DesignPhiladelphia and Archtober (NYC) - two major annual design festivals. 

Audiences in both cities will hear from and interact with other leading voices in community-led design. A lively exchange between the two assembled groups will be powered by Zoom Livestream. 

Be part of the action and discussion as well as part of the solution – become a sponsor by October 1st.  Act now to maximize your visibility.

Tickets (virtual and limited in-person) will be available soon.

Your support advances our ongoing work using design as a tool to assist economically stressed communities throughout Greater Philadelphia drive the development of their own built environments.   


EQUITY TALKS: The Latino Perspective 

SAVE THE DATE: September 27, 3:30-5pm, virtual webinar

The third event in the Equity Talks series,The Latino Perspective will be an open conversation with community developers and leaders who work with and/or support the emerging Latiné/Hispanic communities of Philadelphia, in recognition of National Hispanic American Heritage month. 

You can listen to the replay of the 1st two Equity Talks: Preserving Presence and Community Agency & Resilience, here.

The Collaborative Partners with the Center for Architecture Lab 

The Center for Architecture Lab is a multi-month, multi-disciplinary residency program that offers new voices in architecture and design full authorship over dedicated areas of the Center for Architecture's digital platforms, including social media, web site, and email with compelling and provocative content that will elevate underrepresented perspectives.

The Collaborative will be the featured resident at the Center for Architecture Lab from September 13th-October 31st.

We are excited for this opportunity to elevate the history, present date and future vision for the utilization of design to strengthen our neighborhoods.  

We are designing an interactive residency to elevate the work we have been doing in the city. We will share intimate stories of our nonprofit partners who are on the ground every day as community change agents. We will bring you the most talented and passionate volunteers we have in the space, dedicated and proud to transform the world around them.  We are also planning live events, brilliant candid conversations of the best and brightest practitioners. 

Follow the CFA on Instagram @centerforarch to follow the residency. 

Correction to August Design Matters 

Our August Featured volunteer's name was misspelled. The correct spelling is Erike DeVeyra.  



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