Community Forums, 2004

With its long history, 40th Street is continually evolving. The arrival of the Bridge Cinema and the Freshgrocer are just the most recent sign of this. With so much going on, it was time to have a community conversation about the street. Healthy conversation can lead to mutual understanding and respect for varying goals and visions and to the emergence of new ideas.

So, Penn Praxis, working with a community-based steering committee, created a process that gave the community the chance to talk about 40th Street, a way of building bridges and trust among people and communities, a place of common ground where we could feel comfortable about our place at the community table.

February 17, 2004 Community Meeting

We created a series of safe and facilitated conversations (see documentation in the right column) that allowed people to talk about something that is often difficult to talk about. In the case of 40th Street, many people and communities feel passionately about the street and all too often difficult histories prevent us from creating a shared future. The community forum process was and remains about a shared future.

Citizens of West Philadelphia, working in small groups and using their knowledge of the street and neighborhood, created a series of commonly-held planning principles.

This is what made this process so powerful. We, the citizens, created the principles. The principles have become the common language we can all use to talk about the future of 40th Street. These principles incorporate the goals and values of all who participated in the community forums about this great corridor.

Archive of Forums and Related Materials

The Office of Facilities and Real Estate Services and the Office of Community Relations of the University of Pennsylvania convened the public meetings between February 17 and March 15, 2004. Over 300 people participated in one or more of six sessions. The principles were consolidated from a longer list of ideas and values developed during four facilitated forums. Representatives from each of the four forums developed the final list.

Tuesday, 2/17, 7 - 9 p.m.,
Expert Presentations

Download the Presentations and Handouts

Tuesday, 2/24, 7 - 9 p.m.,
Citizen Principle Session 1

Monday, 3/8, 8:30 - 10 a.m.

Wednesday, 3/10, 7:30 - 9 a.m.

Wednesday, 3/10, 7 - 9 p.m.,
Citizen Principle Session 2

Thursday March 11, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Monday, 3/15, 7 - 9 p.m.,
Final Session and Wrap-up

© 2004, 40th Street Community Forum and Serendip