Celebrating a Decade of Progressive Planning in Philly

On the tenth anniversary of the founding of PennPraxis, Tom Stoelker looks at the consultancy's contribution to advancing community-based planning, and several crucial projects, in Philadelphia.

Stoelker traces the history of PennPraxis, the nonprofit consultancy arm of the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, which was created to "allow both students and professors the chance to practice in a real-world environment through analyzing and developing proposals for actual urban situations."

In the decade since its establishment, the consultancy has had a profound impact on planning in Philadelphia, where it has laid the groundwork for the revitalization of the city's waterfront and spurred a citywide zoning overhaul, and elsewhere, as they've garnered $16 million in international consultancy fees.

As Stoelker notes, Praxis has had a lasting impact on the digital realm as well. "As Praxis developed its waterfront plan, they relied on traditional media to gain traction and also launched an independent and now a very popular website called PlanPhilly.com. 'PlanPhilly had more impact than anything that I can think of in years,' said Gary Jastrzab, executive director at the City Planning Commission. 'They really stepped in and created a whole new group that follows planning closely.'"

Full Story: Well Practiced

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