Written By

Stacey Chen, AICP, Principal

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April 25, 2023

We had a great time showing off Philly at the APA conference

We had a blast showing off Philadelphia, building new connections and reconnecting with partners and friends at the APA National Conference. Here’s a recap of our tours and sessions:

Walking Tour with SEAMAAC: Immigrant and Refugee Empowerment is Social Justice guided members from the APA Asian Pacific Islander Interest Group through a section of southeast Philadelphia that has one of the highest concentrations of immigrants and refugees in the city who have come from predominately Asian and Latin American countries. SEAMAAC has worked extensively with these communities to build community gardens, provide social and health services, support businesses, install murals, and much more. 

An Activist Walking Guide to Chinatown took us on a tour of Chinatown beyond the tourist spots to see how major development projects have shaped and continue to shape the neighborhood, with guides from the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation and the Rail Park.

Bird’s-Eye View: Designing Bird-Safe and -Friendly Cities took us out of Center City and into East Fairmount Park to the Discovery Center in East Farimount Park where we learned from Audubon Midatlantic, Tim Beatley, and Digsau Architecture about how to make cities safer for year-round resident birds, migrating birds, the people who love them, and the ecosystems that depend on them. Fun fact: we had planners from 13 states and one tribal territory and 27 bird species spotted!

Pilot to Permanent walked us through some best practices to bring pilot initiatives into permanent, long-term projects. Whether it is by making public pools more welcoming and engaging, or inviting communities to rediscover an existing site, there are lessons to be learned that can turn activation ideas into permanent strategies with lasting benefits in communities.

UNoRTHODOX guided us through the design, construction and public engagement process for a pop-up play space in the riverside community of Bridesburg in Northeast Philadelphia. Developed as a temporary installation in 2020, UnOrthodox aimed to reconnect residents to the Delaware River through storytelling, playful activities, and wayfinding about the neighborhood's natural history and industrial past, while providing a playful space for free interaction between children and their families and caregivers.

  • S PHL tour
  • Chinatown tour
  • Rail Park tour
  • Birds workshop