I believe in active citizenship
I am on the organizing committee of TEDxPhiladelphia, created in the spirit of the TED conference and its mission, “ideas worth spreading.” TEDxPhiladelphia events offer interactive, immersive experiences for all participants, from speakers to attendees. TEDxPhiladelphia.org | @TEDxPhilly
the w rockland street project
WHAT ONE PHILADELPHIA CITY BLOCK CAN DO TO CHANGE ITS FUTURE
Communication is paramount. Throughout my community work, I have drawn from my professional experience to cast a wider net, influence neighborhood initiatives, rally the troops and get Philadelphians, local leaders, and the media engaged and excited about community organizing. Most of my attention has been focused on one little block in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood.
After the foreclosure crisis in 2009, my sister Aine and I started The W Rockland Street Project in response to escalating quality of life concerns. From dangerous abandoned houses to chronic illegal dumping, W Rockland Street was hit with a slew of dramatic neighborhood changes. The block also saw an increase in poverty and joblessness, vacancy and decay, population, criminal activity, noise pollution, and litter. What can a few people do about some of city’s greatest ills? We had but two options – do something or move.
Ongoing efforts to improve the block are documented on the hyperlocal website rocklandstreet.com, which I manage and write alongside my sister. In response to a noticeable uptick in development activity in the northwest and few public forums for residents to access such information, the blog has evolved to include news about planning and development issues.
The W Rockland Street Project has garnered much acclaim and is the winner of numerous honors including the City of Philadelphia’s 2011 Neighborhood Transformation Award and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s City Gardens contest. rocklandstreet.com | @rocklandstreet
Currently, I serve on the boards of the Design Advocacy Group (DAG) and the Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s Citizens Planning Institute. DAG’s mission is to encourage public discussion about design and to advocate for design excellence in the architecture and physical planning of the Philadelphia region. The Citizens Planning Institute’s mission is to empower citizens to take a more effective and active role in shaping the future of their neighborhoods and of Philadelphia, through a greater understanding of city planning and the steps involved in development projects.
designadvocacy.org | citizensplanninginstitute.org
JOIN THE CONVERSATION ON CHANGING GERMANTOWN
Are you on Facebook? The Changing Germantown Facebook Group offers a broad view of development activity at play in and around Northwest Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood and insight into what community stakeholders are thinking. Members are invited to freely post photos, articles, comments and opinions related to urban planning and design, community development, and zoning issues in Germantown.