Urban Action

North Kensington neighborhood, Philadelphia, PA

Urban Action is an initiative that pairs community organizations with graduate level students at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Design, to develop thoughtful, community-informed designs for public open spaces that support stronger social structure. Hinge founders, Alexa Bosse and Ari Miller, along with Michael Miller (OLIN) lead an interdisciplinary group of students to develop a community informed design of a park in the Kensington Neighborhood of Philadelphia in the spring semester of 2018. This neighborhood was selected as the focus of the 2018 studio because here, vacancy has been a prominent source of trauma and a venue for criminal activity. The site, at the intersection of Kensington Avenue and Somerset Street, is well-known as the location of the largest opioid market in the city; some say even the entire East Coast. Despite these challenges, Kensington is supported by a resilient and well-organized community as well as entrenched service providers like the New Kensington Community Development Corporation, that have been working to support this neighborhood for decades. Through the design, implementation and programming of this small park we hope to gain insight into how to better address these difficult challenges through the development of the public realm. The park is scheduled for construction in the winter of 2019. All drawings were generated by 2018 Urban Action students; Ya Chen, Han Fu, Nandi Yang, TianjiaoYe, Ao Zhang, Cody Erhart, Qin Fang, Zhoufei Zhu, Eric Riley, and Zoe Axelrod.