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Project for Civic Engagement: Common Ground for Building Our City
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January 12, 2010, Volume 56, No. 17

The University of Pennsylvania Project for Civic Engagement, in partnership with the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects (under its umbrella organization of the Center for Architecture) and media partner WHYY will host a series of deliberative workshops to provide input to the Zoning Code Commission about the public engagement process of Philadelphia’s new zoning code.

Common Ground for Building Our City: Developers, the Public and the Zoning Code will consist of three forums this month involving major stakeholder groups, including neighborhood-based organizations and developers; workshops will not be open to the public.

Groups will discuss possible community concerns that may surface in the project-review process and will explore ways to address tensions and trade-offs that may emerge when a new project is scheduled to go into a neighborhood.

The overall goal is to provide common-ground input to the Zoning Code Commission and Philadelphia residents about the project-review process and to help the Commission create an effective and fair new code.

“These workshops provide an opportunity for the development community and civic leadership to come together and help formulate the basics of how communities will have a voice in development decisions in their own neighborhoods,” Harris Sokoloff, the director of the Penn Project for Civic Engagement, said. “By building common ground up-front, we’re more likely to have a project review process that will be transparent, effective and enriching both to the neighborhoods and the city as a whole.”

The Penn Project for Civic Engagement, housed at GSE, will work with the AIA Philadelphia to produce a report from each of the three workshops, as well as an overall report analyzing the work that has been accomplished, and to share any recommendations that have emerged from the forums. Funding for the workshops is provided by the William Penn Foundation.

Almanac - January 12, 2010, Volume 56, No. 17