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Economic Development



Good design is good business! The Community Design Collaborative provides design assistance, education, and outreach to support business and job development in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, with a special focus on neighborhood commercial corridors.  The Collaborative works closely with public agencies, community development corporations, corridor managers, and local businesses through the following programs.
Design grants help nonprofits improve storefront facades and enhance commercial corridors.

Design Grants
The Collaborative provides grants of pro bono preliminary design services to community development corporations (CDCs) and other community-based nonprofits to support their efforts to revitalize neighborhood commercial corridors. Design Grants focus on the redevelopment of storefront façades, retail or mixed-use buildings, streetscapes, and open space. They promote design excellence and impactful reinvestment with conceptual plans, renderings, estimates, and other design services. Apply for a Design Grant

Design consultations help store owners apply for grants to improve their storefront facades.

rStore Facade Improvement Consultations
The Collaborative provides design consultations to store owners who are applying for grants and loans to improve their storefront facades.  Volunteer architects, interior designers, and cost estimators provide recommendations and sketches to guide repainting, the restoration of historical features, and the replacement of signage, lighting, windows, and doors. Consultations are provided through community development corporations and other nonprofits, who recruit store owners on their corridors to participate. 

The Storefront Challenge recognizes excellence in storefront facade improvements. Photo Credit: Chris Kendig

The Storefront Challenge
The Storefront Challenge is a citywide contest that recognizes excellence in storefront facade improvements in Philadelphia. Every two years, the Community Design Collaborative and the Philadelphia Department of Commerce invite business owners, customers, neighbors, designers, contractors, corridor managers, community organizations, and property owners to nominate the best storefront façade improvement projects throughout the city. The finalists and winners in the Challenge are selected by a jury of economic development, retail, and design experts and recognized in a special awards celebration. 

Corridor Realities enables corridor advocates to discuss challenges and learn best practices.

Corridor Realities
The Community Design Collaborative and the Philadelphia Department of Commerce co-host a bi-annual workshop on how to use design to address the real challenges of revitalizing neighborhood commercial corridors. Recent topics have included creative façade makeovers, redeveloping the “white elephant” on the block, transforming streetscapes, and using tactical design to make things happen. 

News and Happenings
Robin Kohles: Designing for Philly's corridors
Robin Kohles served as project manager for the Collaborative’s economic development design services for eight years. As Robin wraps up her tenure at the Collaborative, we asked...
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Corridor Realities 2017 Recap
Public health, preservation, and place-keeping were the timely topics of this year's Corridor Realities. Every two years, the Community Design Collaborative and Philadelphia...
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Frankford CDC tests vision with Food Truck Friday
Sometimes, you need to see the big picture to get things going. Good food can help too. The barren plaza, dim lighting, and confusing crosswalks under the El at the Arrott...
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