Urban Workshop

Students Collaborating, urban planning layout, final product


The Mission

The Urban Workshop is an interdisciplinary social impact design collaborative that engages underserved communities in creating environments that are beautiful, just and sustainable. Our process is human-centered, building on our disciplinary expertise and the vision and imagination of our community partners. 

The Urban Workshop was formed by Architecture and allied place-making disciplines to undertake research and design that would advance key projects in urban neighborhoods and non-profit organizations. Through this work we offer our students a framework for community-based learning and a model of ethically driven professional practice. Together we research and plan neighborhood space, design buildings and landscapes, and make public art.  These diverse undertakings are interconnected and holistically conceived. By employing multiple points of view and scales of impact, we can weave together what is small, tangible and local with the systemic patterns that form the ecology of the neighborhood environment.

The Urban Workshop is well situated to address the complexity of urban regeneration and to explore the critical challenges of how we live together in the contemporary city. The changing physical environment of Philadelphia and its environs calls for broad speculation and on-site action that can build new models for humane neighborhoods for the 21st century. 

The Goals

The Urban Workshop has three major goals:

1. To offer a collaborative academy-community practice in design, urban research, building, and art-making that addresses in a holistic way, key projects in under served neighborhoods and organizations

2. To create curricular opportunities for students; providing depth and humanity to their creative education through unique interdisciplinary and community-based experience

3. To advance knowledge in the area of sustainable urban place-making.

Community Partners, Projects and Collaborators

Organizational and Urban Development Planning

Brownfields Area-Wide Plan 

6TH and Susquehanna: Urban Research and Design

Tactical Urbanism, 6TH and Susquehanna: Proposals for short-term interventions (Architecture)

Campus Master Plan: Implementing the Next Generation Village 

Environmental Center Teaching Pavilion: Design-Build 

Digging Deeper: Programming, Site Visioning 

Baobab Park Exhibition: Site Plan and Design-Build

Education Building Addition: Programming and concept 

Shared Prosperity/ Germantown Avenue Urban Design Study

The Kensington Depot Walkway: Site analysis and Design 

7 Acre Site Plan 

Neighborhood Art and Design Projects 

Looking Back: Post occupancy assessment for Project 1800 

Habitat North Philadelphia Neighborhood Change Study 

Project 1800: Design and documentation for 20 new and renovated houses 


Honor Award, AIA Pennsylvania Design Excellence Awards, for Digging Deeper

Honorable Mention, SEED International Competition for Public Interest Design, or Digging Deeper

Citation of Merit Award, AIA Pennsylvania, Architectural Excellence Awards Program, for “Shared Prosperity and Beyond: A University-Community Partnership”


Where If not Us? Participatory Design and its Radical Approaches, Graham Foundation, Chicago,

AIA Pennsylvania Design Excellence Awards: Digging Deeper, Barnes Foundation Philadelphia

Towards a New/Old Architecture, AIA Pennsylvania Design Excellence Award, Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, PA

“The Urban Workshop,” Architecture Lobby, Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Philadelphia

Art in City Hall, “Reimagining the Village” in “The Village of Arts and Humanities -- 25 Years of Neighborhood Revitalization Through Arts, Education and Social Activism”, City Hall, Philadelphia

“Project 1800 Habitat Philadelphia” in Social Impact Design, AIA Philadelphia

Festival Architettura 5, “The Craft of Inefficiency: Habitat in North Philadelphia 1999–2009”, Parma, Italy

Academic and Professional Collaborators 

Temple University: Tyler Architecture, Community Development, Sculpture, Landscape Architecture and Horticulture; Fox Social Entrepreneurship; College of Liberal Arts Center for Sustainable Communities, Geography and Urban Studies, Anthropology

University of Pennsylvania: Planning

University Community Collaborative of Philadelphia

Rowan University: Geography, Planning, and Sustainability 

Professional Collaborators

Jacobs/Wyper Architects

WellsAppel Landscape Architecture.


Urban Workshop is supported both by external project grants and by grants from the Temple University Office of Research.

External funders include: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Norris Square Civic Association, Heritage Philadelphia Program of the Pew Charitable Trusts and Wachovia Regional Foundation via The Village of Arts and Humanities, the Non-Profit Finance Fund, and the University Community Collaborative of Philadelphia


Sally Harrison, AIA, Director and Professor of Architecture / sally.harrison@temple.edu / 215.850.4433