Rebuilding Community Infrastructure (Rebuild) is an investment in our youth and in our neighborhoods. Through public, private, and philanthropic support, Rebuild will create 21st Century parks, libraries, recreation centers, and playgrounds with the goal of expanding educational opportunities for children, promoting healthy lifestyles, and creating jobs across Philadelphia.
Among the country’s big cities, Philadelphia ranks near the bottom of capital spending on Parks and Recreation at just $12 per citizen. Though the dollars committed to Rebuild ($500 million) represent a massive investment in our City’s community infrastructure, the size of the system and the depth of the need mean Rebuild cannot fix each and every site. Site selection must be strategic.
Working closely with the Managing Director's office, PIDC Community Capital, Parks and Recreation, the Free Library, William Penn Foundation and the Knight Foundation, Interface Studio led a team to help design the program to aid in site selection and decision making.
These spaces are the legacy of what William Penn sought to create – a green country town – and they remain cherished community resources.
Our charge was to organize a data-driven process for understanding the condition and needs of the sites but also the context in which they are located.
We looked at a range of factors to help understand the trends impacting residents of all ages. This data analysis fueled the development of two goals:
First and foremost, the program focuses on EQUITY; Rebuild will make strategic investments in distressed or struggling neighborhoods to maximize access to state-of-the-art community spaces and expand opportunity for the most vulnerable population.
Second, the program seeks to drive ECONOMIC GROWTH, reinforcing neighborhoods that are experiencing new growth and revitalization through improvements to community assets to meet the needs of changing demographics.
We undertook an analysis of other community assets like schools, health centers and day care centers. Where sites are "co-located", there are opportunities to consider shared investments and/or programming. There are a number of opportunities in the City to create comprehensive neigborhood centers.
With the program just getting off the ground, much work is left to be done. Rebuild includes significant diversity and inclusion goals and a committment to engaging the public and building neighborhood capacity.
This exciting initiative is just getting started - stay tuned!