Urban Workshop

Students Collaborating, urban planning layout, final product


The Mission

The Urban Workshop at Temple University is a social impact design collaborative formed by faculty in Architecture and allied place-making disciplines.  We engage communities in a shared process of reimagining and rebuilding post-industrial neighborhoods, seeking to create urban environments that are beautiful, just and sustainable.

The Urban Workshop is project-based, providing a framework for interdisciplinary design and research and community-based learning. In close collaboration with with our community partners, faculty and students research cultural and physical contexts, envision and plan neighborhood space, design buildings and landscapes, and make installations and public art.  We see these undertakings as interconnected. 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 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. 1. To offer a collaborative academy-community practice in design, urban research, building, and art-making that advances in a holistic way, key projects in the neighborhoods;

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

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

Projects and Partners


·       6TH and Susquehanna: Urban Research and Design (Architecture+ Planning)

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


·       Environmental Center Teaching Pavilion: Design-Build (Architecture)

·       Digging Deeper: Programming, Site Plan, and Building Concept Designs (Architecture + WellsAppel, Landscape Architects)

·       Baobab Park Exhibition: Site Plan and Design-Build (Architecture + Landscape Architecture)

·       Education Building Addition: Programming and concept design (Architecture + JacobsWyper Architects)

·       Shared Prosperity/ Germantown Avenue Urban Design Study; (Architecture + Anthropology + UPenn Planning)


·       The Kensington Depot Walkway: Site analysis and Design (Architecture + Landscape Architecture)

·       7 Acre Site Plan (Architecture + Landscape Architecture + Business)

·       Neighborhood Art and Design Projects (Architecture + Sculpture + Geography + Landscape Architecture)


·       Looking Back: Post occupancy assessment for Project 1800 (Architecture)

·       Project 1800: Design and documentation for 20 new and renovated houses (Architecture + Jacobs/Wyper Architects)

·       Habitat North Philadelphia Neighborhood Change Study (Architecture)


Towards a New/Old Architecture, AIA Pennsylvania Design Excellence Award, Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, 2016

Where If not Us? Participatory Design and its Radical Approaches, Graham Foundation, Chicago, 2013

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, 2011

Festival Architecttura 5, “The Craft of Inefficiency: Habitat in North Philadelphia 1999–2009”, Parma Italy, 2010



Honor Award, AIA Pennsylvania Design Excellence Awards, for Digging Deeper, 2014

Honorable Mention, SEED International Competition for Public Interest Design. For Digging Deeper, 2012

Citation of Merit Award, AIA Pennsylvania, Architectural Excellence Awards Program, for “Shared Prosperity and Beyond: A University-Community Partnership”, 2009

Finalist, Best Paper of the ARCC/EAAE International Conference, for Harrison, S., “Four Ways of Knowing: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Teaching Community Design”, 2006

Academic and Professional Collaborators 

Academic collaborators: Temple’s departments of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture, Landscape Architecture and Horticulture, Geography and Urban Studies, Social Entrepreneurship, and Anthropology, PennDesign’s Planning Department, the University Community Collaborative of Philadelphia.

Professional collaborators: Jacobs/Wyper Architects and 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: the 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