The Gateway Project to North Kensington: What's Urban Build?

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At Shift Capital, we are excited to announce a collaboration with Olin and PennPraxis – the Living Laboratory! Shift is contributing $5,000 and a 1/4 acre open lot as part of a fundraising campaign to support an innovative, interdisciplinary design-build studio course. Contingent on additional funding, the course will be offered to graduate students in the UPENN School of Design starting in the spring semester of 2018.

The Living Laboratory is a pilot studio for the Urban Build program. With a focus on vacant urban land and community planning this studio will design and construct a small-scale public space with input and participation from the immediate community. Issues of sustainability, healthy living, environmental justice, and horticulture are integral to the community planning process. The hope is that this project will engage with those topics meaningfully, and serve as a model for other sites throughout Philadelphia.

The 1/4 acre open lot, just north of Lehigh Avenue will be the site for the Living Lab in Urban Build’s inaugural year. This site was selected in partnership with the New Kensington CDC, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and Shift Capital for its strategic location on the commercial corridor of Kensington Ave, its proximity to an active community and its potential as a gateway to the future urban greenway on the Lehigh Viaduct.

Through the pilot studio of Urban Build, students will be adding to the positive momentum Shift has generated through Maken Studios, Maken Residential and Maken Commercial. Beyond the pilot there is great potential to continue the partnership to leverage Shift’s portfolio and commitment to the Kensington Neighborhood to create a series of public spaces over time.

Read more about the project here. Please contact Julie Donofrio for more information about becoming a donor.

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Living Laboratory Site