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Impact Areas

Impact Areas addresses community development challenges that require immediate attention and civic engagement.


Mt. Tabor Senior Housing
Image by Don Pearse

The Collaborative responds to the concerns that communities bring to us through special initiatives. Here are some of the topics we've explored through Impact Areas. 

Economic Development

Neighborhood commercial corridors reflect neighborhood authenticity and identity. They act as zippers connecting different cultures. They provide safe, welcoming places for residents to gather and visitors to explore. Commercial corridors are also a wellspring for the city economy. When a commercial corridor thrives, it creates opportunities to find a job or start a business. New and growing businesses boost city coffers. Small businesses incubate, innovate and often grow. 

Transforming Schoolyards

The Community Design Collaborative has helped create conceptual plans for over 20 green schoolyards within the School District of Philadelphia and several for independent schools and other public school systems. The Collaborative's work with schools and communities supports Philadelphia Water's campaign to make schoolyards an active part of the city's stormwater management plan, Green City, Clean Waters

Low and Moderate Income Neighborhoods

Preliminary design and community engagement for low and moderate income neighborhoods is the foundation of the Collaborative’s work. Low and moderate income neighborhoods need quality affordable housing, community-based health and human services, vibrant public spaces, and job and business opportunities to thrive. The Collaborative helps low and moderate income neighborhoods envision, lead, and advocate for redevelopment. 

Health and Wellness

Much of what influences our health happens outside the doctor’s office – in our communities. Community factors such as access to healthy foods and recreational spaces, and the support of families and social networks contribute to our health. The Collaborative helps communities envision open space, commercial corridors, reclaimed vacant land and buildings, and walkable neighborhoods that promote physical activity and community well being. 

School Reuse

For decades, public schools have anchored Philadelphia neighborhoods as places of learning, community pride, and architectural distinction. When the School District of Philadelphia closed over 30 schools within the city, many communities lost an important community asset. The Collaborative helps communities explore ways to reactivate these neighborhood icons on a temporary or permanent basis. 

Vacant Land

Philadelphia contains over 30,000 vacant properties. The Philadelphia Land Bank will help guide its transition into new, productive uses. The Collaborative helps communities evaluate and imagine new uses for vacant land and buildings including affordable housing, commercial and light industrial development, and community open space. 



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