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Why Volunteer?

What our volunteers are saying about the Collaborative experience and the impact of engaging communities through design

"Design isn’t something we impose upon a community. It’s more about uncovering the identity and potential of a place."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“How did I know the client liked our idea? Because they were jumping up and down!”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Design is vital to both revitalize and maintain communities. Design and change within a community can spark confidence and pride in members of the community, which in turn makes for a healthier, happier, and safer environment."

Aston, Pennsylvania

"Good design asks a community to be a part of shaping something. It engages people around a common cause and gets us all to talk to each other. "

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Having the chance to give a client a new perspective on their site is a great feeling."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"As designers we are able to shape neighborhoods, and it's important to keep the communities who make up the neighborhood apart of the design process. There is a fine line between revitalization and gentrification. It's important to study the context before we come try to add or change it."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"People are either helped or hindered by the built environment. Design can't revitalize communities on its own, but it can empower the people who live in them and provide tangible improvements in their day to day lives."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"I love Philadelphia’s scale and approachability."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"From puppeteers, to doctors, salespeople, and soon-to-be saints, every Collaborative project guarantees that you will see the world through eyes that see the city differently than you."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"It's amazing to work on a project where I am interacting directly with the end users to create something meaningful in a place that I love."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Design helps to provide visioning for a community. This visioning helps to excite a community about possibilities in shared public spaces."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Encouraging communities to have planned and designed spaces can increase civic pride and investment."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“Working with people who are so grateful for the work that we do for them is very rewarding.”

Havertown, Pennsylvania

“Thoughtful design doesn't take a lot of money to achieve big improvements.”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"I think that thoughtful design doesn't need to be expensive or complex to have a huge impact on the health, vitality, and vibrance of a community."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“Design has the opportunity to impact the entire fabric of a neighborhood or community.”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Design can create a sense of place and bring members of a community closer together and foster healthier and more sustainable relationships within the community."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Involving the community in the process gives them a sense of ownership and stewardship for continued involvement in the betterment of the community."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Design gives the communities the power to take ownership and create the solutions they want to see."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"I love Philadelphia’s scale and approachability."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Design, and including communities in design, helps create buy in within revitalizing communities, resulting in a better, more human-centric place for those who live there."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Having the ability to collaborate with community members to help shape the way they experience their neighborhood is priceless."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"The built environment has a tremendous impact on our society's health: a strong connection to neighborhood community fosters a sense of belonging, as well as by providing access to educational, economic and social opportunities. Working with the Collaborative is a way for designers [to] support the growth of our city's neighborhoods while ensuring that those directly affected by our work are able to contribute to how their own community is shaped over time."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“I encourage others to participate and connect with the greater community.”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"​I feel that I have grown so much professionally by participating in the Collaborative over the years. My experiences have shaped how I design for the better."

Haddon Township, New Jersey

"Communities change over time and steering these changes in a positive direction requires an intentional approach. Good design provides the framework for the built environment to create equitable and resilient outcomes."

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania

"It is inspiring and rewarding to work with such passionate and committed volunteers and community members."

Media, Pennsylvania

"Our buildings affect us in seen and unseen ways every day. We must be free to seek beauty and revitalization within our communities as we do within ourselves."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"The most rewarding thing about working on a project is experiencing the genuine appreciation of the community members we are designing for."

Newtown, Pennsylvania

"The Collaborative reinforces how many good and wonderful people there are in Philadelphia who want to help their neighbors who they've never met."

"Design, when implemented with community feedback and support, is an important part of revitalization because it provides an opportunity to shape a neighborhood in a way that meets the needs, and incorporates the context, of a specific community."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Good design should give communities a chance to come together and discuss their goals before the change happens."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“The Collaborative is my chance to do a broader range of project types and work with different teams.”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Design allows communities to re-imagine a new possibility for themselves, it can help empower them so that they can have agency and shape the world around them and determine their own future."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“It was amazing how everyone jumped in.”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"It's rewarding to feel like you've provided something a document, drawing, idea, enthusiasm that the community can move forward with."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Kelsey Ross

/
Architect, Registered

"Not all of the residents of the community we were working with could speak English, and it was incredible to see the way we could communicate their vision through design. It was fun to work side by side with people from other disciplines too."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"To me the most rewarding part of our work has been getting to know the business owners and in turn learning how the improvements we developed will enhance the business’s connection to the neighborhood."

West Chester, Pennsylvania

"I appreciated the chance to return to a Philadelphia neighborhood that I was already familiar with, but this time was able to see it from someone else's perpective- and it was like a brand new place."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Design is essential to instill pride and stewardship."

Marlton, New Jersey

"Design can and should be used as an engine for social justice and change."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“Sometimes it just takes one comment from a community member to help you think outside the box and change the course of the design for the better.”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"When you piece together distinct stories it allows for you to understand an individual's understanding of place. As a result, the boundaries of space are no longer just physical because a responsibility is added towards the collective memory that makes a place."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Design that is driven by community engagement helps to lead to places that are not only more inclusive and accessible to existing residents, but is also a way to promote greater civic engagement by giving people an active voice in the way their communities are shaped."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Being able to meet and work with other design professionals from different disciplines on a shared vision for a community project, as well as engaging with that community in a meaningful way."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Design is an important part of revitalizing communities, inspiring individuals, and enlivening physical spaces."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"It helps people visualize what could be, and help shape it in ways beyond words."

Dobbs Ferry, New York

"All the design team members have great experiences and ideas, but it's the community that has the intimate experiences and ideas that are needed to develop the project concepts and designs."

Oreland, Pennsylvania

Michael Spain

/
D2CA Architects LLC

“Design gives people a tool to be active in the decisions of their community and see the impact it can have.”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"I love how individuals from different disciplines get together working on various issues of the communities resulting in simple manageable solutions in a short period of time. "

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"It was great to know that the volunteers take the projects very seriously and try for excellence."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"The most rewarding part is to be able to help nonprofits take their program in the direction they want to go.”

Collingswood, New Jersey
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"...clients often have ideas to revitalize their spaces, but are often underfunded and overworked -- having a team of designers come seems to bring those ideas back up to the surface, and gives those ideas a new life."

New Providence, Pennsylvania

The design process is often more important than the final product.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“Community members understand best how to positively impact their neighborhoods.”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"I have learned so much from my teammates, the wonderful folks at the Collaborative, and the clients. I have connected with people that I might not have been able to meet otherwise."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“These are the places where I want to work as a design professional.”

Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania

"The best way to design is to talk, to have honest discussions with users that strive to understand what those users need."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Design affects how we feel about ourselves, the work/play we do, and the environment we’re in. By engaging all stakeholders in the design process, a community design acknowledges this broader impact, and reflects everyone's needs. It’s for everyone, by everyone. "

Ambler, Pennsylvania

" I find that interacting with the people and groups that the collaborative works with restores my faith in humanity and our ability to create common good."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"'Design' may be something that not everybody fully understands, but the quality of our environment has an impact on all of us."

Ardmore, Pennsylvania

"The design process, particularly the community engagement portion, allows communities to have agency in reimagining their public spaces"

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"Design is a powerful tool that allows communities to focus ideas about who they are and where they've been in order to shape what they want to become."

Media, Pennsylvania

"It is a communication, and it is very important to talk with them. I think that’s the first step in revitalizing communities, getting to know them and meeting them where they are instead of coming from a high helicopter view and saying you need this."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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