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The Visible and InVisible

Your generous financial support enables the Collaborative to use design as a tool that empowers, inspires, and makes a lasting difference. 


The Collaborative Builds Community and Volunteer Capacity 

There have been 1,700 pro bono conceptual design projects via the Community Design Collaborative over the past 30 years. These include affordable housing built, urban parks rejuvenated, schoolyards transformed, new or renovated facilities created for community-based healthcare or social services, and neighborhood commercial corridor streetscapes upgraded to support thriving local economies.

There is also a deeper story to tell. The results of our work extend beyond the plans, elevations, analyses, renderings, and cost estimates that we deliver so our clients can build broad support and raise funding to realize their visions   

Client nonprofits advance their missions, community members exercise self-agency, and volunteers make a human impact:

“Our project helped the Viola Street Residents Association create networks and partnerships that are still in place today. It was a rejuvenating and empowering experience. We learned that transforming a neighborhood

is a process that requires patience, perseverance, the right partners, and exploring many avenues to reach our goals for Viola Street.”—Joyce Smith, Client

The Viola Street Residents Association conceptualized Project Reclaim, a plan for positive neighborhood reinvestment that addresses clusters of vacancy and blight.

In 2021, we remain dedicated to advancing an overarching vision of a world in which all communities have access to critical resources necessary for driving development of their own built environment. It compels us to reexamine and refresh how the Collaborative thinks about and practices community-engaged design.

Equity issues are at the forefront. While they’ve always inspired our work, we are taking steps to bring them forward and embed throughout our organization and programs. You can catchup on the Equity Talks (March – November) that explored design equity issues through the eyes of Black, Asian, LatinX, and Native American communities. 

Our 30th anniversary year has been much more than a retrospective. Philadelphia’s nonprofits, forever changed by a global pandemic, were once again ready to focus on their futures.

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