Browsing All Posts filed under »Our Work«

‘People Like To Sit Where There Are Places For Them To Sit + We’re Making That Easier.’

June 23, 2013

Our Work

Regularly, one of the members of The Building Hero Project, our community design leadership program in Philadelphia, will be reflecting upon and sharing their experiences in the program. This week, Meghan Talarowski, who just graduated from the University of Pennsylvania writes about the bench-bombing the team has been doing in Philly to get feedback on […]

”Building Hero’ Is Not A Title You Are Given, It’s Something That You Earn.’~Alexa E., Age 16.

April 29, 2013

Our Work

Regularly, one of the members of The Building Hero Project, our community design leadership program in Philadelphia, will be reflecting upon and sharing their experiences in the program. This week, Alexa E., a 16 year old building hero from the Science Leadership Academy writes about the bench building workshop she helped lead for Leadership Philadelphia […]

Tiny WPA Teens Design-Build A Shade Canopy For A Farmer’s Market In North Philly.

November 30, 2012

Our Work

‘Wow, I can it see all the way from Lehigh Avenue. The green and the trees… just makes me so happy. It lifts my spirits.’ ‘I have some land next to my house, will you build some trees there for us?’ ‘That’s nice, real nice.’ We are happy to report that our Tiny WPA team […]

‘It Would Be Great If We Had This (Youth-Built Adventure Playgrounds) All Over Philly’.

November 30, 2012

Our Work

Two weeks. One great organizational partner. Seventy teens and young designers from five universities and seven high schools. Hundreds of kids and their families. A few power tools and $2000 worth of materials. One awesome pop-up adventure playground at the very center of Downtown Philadelphia that begins to redefine our conceptions of risk, play, and […]

Check Out The Tiny WPA Bus Stop Seating Design-Built By Teens In Fifteen Hours In Flint!

November 30, 2012

Our Work

Fifteen hours, two awesome collaborators, three bus stop seating prototypes, and eleven teens who now really want to design-build more things that improve their city. In late October, we decamped from Philadelphia for a week in Flint, MI to work with Job Corps and the Flint Public Art Project to do one of our Tiny WPA […]

‘Hey Alex, Can We Start A Neighborhood Repair And Design Shop?’~Raheem + Tyree.

October 11, 2012

Our Work

One would think that this question, coming just two weeks into launching our beta version of TinyWPA, would send me over the moon. Shoot, after just two weeks, a motley crop of uninitiated  #teendesignheroes in Philly ‘got it’ and wanted more. And they didn’t just want MORE, they were looking to initiate their own projects with their […]

Public Workshop To Help Grow Citizen Scientists To Measure Impact Of Green Infrastructure.

September 27, 2012

News, Our Work

What do you do when you don’t have the staff to measure the impact of or maintain green infrastructure projects that your department has installed and distributed in a decentralized fashion throughout a city? ‘How about growing a corps of citizen scientists? Given our work helping create Shadelab, it’s probably not surprising that we think […]

Accelerating Understanding Of The Social Life Of Public Spaces Via Big-Urban-Games.

September 11, 2012

Our Work

As you may know, for at least the past three years, I have been using big-urban-games (B.U.G.-coined by Katie Salen and others) and play as mechanisms for accomplishing great things when it comes to participatory design and learning. On one hand I have hacked games such as hide-n-go-seek, capture the flag, and parcours to implicitly instill the […]

My, That Sure Is A Mighty Pretty Chocolate Cake Master Plan Of Your Park!

September 9, 2012

Our Work

A few weeks ago we led a youth and community engagement event for our clients, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and the City of Austin, Texas. For the event, we deployed our patented chocolate cake master planning process to best engage the community’s youth and their families, and put their local insights and ideas at the forefront […]

Teenage Women W/Power Tools Are Our Most Powerful Instigators Of Civic Innovation?

September 9, 2012

Our Work

Ponder these equations. t+ap=ge   (teens + instigating really awesome design-build placemaking improvements in their neighborhood=greater community engagement + civic innovation) tw+ap=aie   (teenage women + instigating really awesome design-build placemaking improvements in their own neighborhood=absolutely incomparable community engagement + civic innovation) Ya know, one would think that given our pioneering of the first formula that I […]

Design Thinking Helps 7th Graders Write Faster (And Better)? Yep + Other Good Things Too.

September 8, 2012

Our Work

Can design thinking programs lead students to perform better in their core academic subjects? Whether you decide to replace design thinking with ‘arts education’ or not, an affirmative answer of ‘yes’ to this question is the holy grail of funders, program directors, and measurement fanatics everywhere. From over 14 years of doing this type of […]

We’re Helping Create A Program Transforming Young Ladies Into Community Design + STEM Leaders.

June 4, 2012

News, Our Work

Have you checked out the stats for the number of women who are architects or in STEM related professions in this country? How about women of color? 20% of registered architects in the United States are women. Approximately 25% of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) positions in the U.S. are held by women. And […]

Say Hello To Tiny WPA! Will You Be A Building Hero With Us?

March 26, 2012

Our Work

Tiny WPA is a program to redesign and rebuild Philadelphia’s schools, public spaces, and micro-infrastructure through design improvements initiated by youth. This program is inspired by the remarkable aspirations of Paul and RJ, two young adults from North Philadelphia. Blown away by the incredible community response they were getting simply by spending two hours rapid […]

Project: What Would You Redesign About Your 7th Grade Learning Experience?

February 29, 2012

Our Work

If I were to ask you to come up with ONE thing, one change that would have made your learning better in the 7th grade, what would it be? Many of you might suggest more comfortable chairs, more time between classes or even lockers. These are all things that directly impact your life. Some of […]

Writing: What A Bunch Of LEGOs Can Teach Us About Civic Participation + Innovation.

February 28, 2012

Our Work, Writing

Public Workshop’s Alex Gilliam originally wrote the following article for the Guggenheim Museum’s BMW Lab|Log. It has been republished at Next American City and One evening about a year ago, staff members at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, did something a bit unusual as they prepared to close the Lego building area for the […]

Want A Sneak Peek Into Our R + D Lab For Civic Design Participation & Learning??

February 24, 2012

Our Work

Walking into a community planning meeting for the pocket park around the corner from your house, you are a bit surprised when asked to fill out and wear a wooden name tag. However, it is a mighty attractive looking name tag and it feels a bit more special than the usual sticky affairs–that never really […]

Project: I AM OHNY!–Strengthening An Org. By Celebrating The Things That Make It Great.

February 22, 2012

Our Work

Everyone should have the opportunity to experience the places, spaces, architecture and infrastructure that make a city great. Only by exploring and physically experiencing a building or place can one really understand the impact of, and thereby participate in the making of the design decisions that affect our City and neighborhoods. With 225,000 visitors and […]

Check Out Our New 12″ Build-It! Mini-Discs. Save Some Money + Still Be A Building Hero.

February 14, 2012

News, Our Work

Our new 12″ Build-It! Mini-Discs are so new that they are not even up on our beabuildinghero website. Why in the world have we decided to fabricate 12″ Discs when the 15″ are pretty darn great? First and foremost, the 12″ Discs fall into a shipping sweet spot and the resulting shipping costs are significantly less […]

Chocolate Cake Helps Montreal Residents Explore The Future Of Their Neighborhood.

November 21, 2011

News, Our Work

Montreal’s Vendome neighborhood has a brand new, massive hospital in its very near future that will have a huge impact on the fabric of the neighborhood and yet most people don’t even know it’s coming. What happens when you gather commuters, passersby, local kids, politicians, news media, college students and cheerleaders (!) to build a […]

‘We Want To Inspire Others To Re-Design/Improve Their Neighborhoods’-Philly #teendesignheroes

September 14, 2011

Our Work

Three hours of design-building and rapid prototyping structures on vacant lots in North Philadelphia was all it took to inspire two #teendesignheroes from Philadelphia to want to start a larger movement of community generated DIY neighborhood improvements. Needless to say, I am blown away by the energy, ideas, and conviction of Paul, RJ and the […]