For Sylvia Palms and Danielle DiLeo Kim, the co-founders of Locus Partners, designing a building or a park or anything that involves people—which is to say, anything—involves listening to those people. Their firm links design with social good to create spaces that make a neighborhood better, for as many people as possible. Three years ago, they formed Philly Girls Do Good (PGDG), building on this same idea: Bringing together a community of women leaders in design and community development working to improve Philadelphia.
Next Tuesday, PGDG—along with The Citizen—will host its Third Annual Open Conversation, on Creating Equitable Places and Good Practices. The panel, moderated by Citizen Executive Editor Roxanne Patel Shepelavy, will include Kim; Jill Roberts, Executive Director of the Healthy Rowhouse Project; Carmen Febo San Miguel, Executive Director of Taller Puertorriqueño; and Donna Carney, Director of the Citizens Planning Institute.
They will all discuss how their organizations work to create diverse, healthy and equitable neighborhoods in Philadelphia. And they will address they way they run their organizations—the “best practices”—and how that affects their work.
Palms says the goal is to offer diverse perspectives on community building from people who are working from different angles, in both small and large organizations. The Citizens Planning Institute, for example, educates other community development leaders, giving Carney a glimpse into multiple ways of building communities.
“The people that go through Donna’s coursework come from every conceivable neighborhood in Philadelphia,” Palms says. “They’re all really engaged in their neighborhoods, and they may each see the concept of equity from different perspectives. Donna’s heard all those voices, and she might even see patterns in the city that would be interesting to understand.”
Every year, PGDG welcomes a new class of “cohorts”—women leaders nominated by their colleagues, whose work ranges from city-wide urban development to art exhibitions and outreach in small neighborhoods. “Broadly, you could say that the women in the group, since many of them are working for neighborhood, cultural, social and arts-based organizations, they are, as a community, working to make Philadelphia a more equitable place,” Kim says.
The Open Conversation is the biggest of PGDG’s networking events each year. This time, Kim and Palms say they hope to attract an audience outside of their field, to provide a perspective the panelists wouldn’t ordinarily hear.
“It’s about learning about new initiatives and being challenged,” she says. “I think it would be interesting if both the audience was inspired to see more opportunities to think about these topics in their own work, but also that they ask the panelists challenging questions, that will hopefully be valuable for the panelists, and certainly for the other members of PGDG who are in the audience.”
The event, at Industrious, is $15 and includes refreshments and wine. To attend, buy tickets here.Header Photo by Wikimedia