Tiny WPA!


Tiny WPA is a program that places young adults at the forefront of stimulating community engagement and civic innovation in Philadelphia (and elsewhere) by empowering them to design and build improvements to the public spaces, schools, and micro-infrastructure in their neighborhoods.

Initiated by Public WorkshopTiny WPA is one component of our efforts to grow an army of talented community-design leaders that will make Philadelphia THE national model for how we engage young people in the design of their cities and help lay the foundation for an incomparable future of community-generated civic innovation in our city. Tiny WPA  grows out of the incredible desire of the many young adults that we have worked with in Philadelphia and beyond to have a positive impact on the places they live; a host of civic needs that can be best met by young adults; the remarkable impact that we have seen time and time again in communities when their young adults become design leaders; the transformative effect our community design leadership programs have had on the learning and self-efficacy of young adults; and the need to create a sustainable model that not only has demonstrable impact on Philadelphia’s diverse communities but effectively conveys valuable life-long design and leadership skills to the participants.

What did we accomplish in the first four months of the program in 2012?

Since launching the program in July of 2012, hundreds of young adults in three cities completed four public space improvement projects. These include:

A pop-up adventure playground in the very heart of Philadelphia; bus stop seating in Flint; a shade canopy for a farmer’s market in North Philly; and a Switzerland-esque pocket park/neutral play space in South Chicago.

Wondering about the impact any one of these projects has had? Watch this video to learn more. Our projects also won a couple of awards and got a lot of press.

What’s in store for 2013?

In 2013, working with a diverse array of community partners, we have at least ten confirmed TinyWPA projects in four cities (Philadelphia, Flint, Chicago, Charlottesville). Some of these include:

Citizen scientists measuring the impact of green urban water infrastructure; secretly playable park furniture; a permanent ‘loose parts’ adventure playground; health mapping and community information kiosks; crowdsourced vacant lot improvements; a parklet to crowdsource ideas for streetscape improvements at a major intersection; and a more expansive hack-your-classroom program that will be implemented in a couple of schools across Philadelphia.

Your organization, school, or community would like to do a Tiny WPA project?

Great! We’d love to work with you. Every one of our TinyWPA projects grows out of a local need and is with an on-the ground community partner(s)–school, CDC, church, government agency, etc.. We are always looking for new partners and opportunities for young adults to make a transformative contribution to the design of their neighborhood, school, etc..

Send us an email: alex@publicworkshop.us

How are we ‘growing impact’?

In Philadelphia, The Building Hero Project–our young adult community design leadership program for 16-26 year olds–will help support and lead local TinyWPA projects. This will enable us to extend our impact; the impact TinyWPA participants’ impact in their communities; and slowly grow a broad ‘network’–a team–of people who are able to initiate positive change in their own communities and across Philadelphia via design.

Interested in getting involved or supporting a Tiny WPA project?

Great! We love aspiring Building Heroes, cheerleaders, and material, tool, and monetary donations.

Send us an email: alex@publicworkshop.us

Want to keep up with project developments?

Until we have our new website up and running, please visit our Facebook page for the most up-to-date information! Click here.



Page last updated on May 16, 2013 at 8:33 pm