In Philadelphia, Knight Foundation advances equitable neighborhood development through engaging public spaces.

In partnership with the city and other funders, we piloted Reimagining the Civic Commons, an initiative to connect and reinvigorate public spaces such as parks, trails, recreation centers and libraries. Our goal is to bring together people from all backgrounds, develop new local leaders and foster a more vibrant, engaged community.

Since 2015, the initiative has spread to four other cities and helped create five new civic assets in Philadelphia, including a riverfront park and trail, a renovated public library and park space, an elevated park, an outdoor education and nature center, and recreational amenities for one of the city’s signature public spaces West Fairmount Park. All were developed with input from the surrounding communities.

Our Philadelphia program focuses on: 

  • Exploring efforts that transform civic and public spaces into places that bring together a range of people, while offering an outlet to learn and share ideas;
  • Supporting new programming that demonstrates how these spaces can help to counter social fragmentation, increase civic attachment and create economic opportunities for people, particularly through technology and the arts; 
  • Empowering local leaders, new and established, so that they can help improve neighborhood life and bring diverse people together to shape the city’s future. 
  • Demonstrating the many ways in which Philadelphia is a leader in creating vibrant public spaces.

If you’re interested in our Arts program, read more about our arts and arts and technology strategy.

Philadelphia Community Advisory Committee members:

Sandra Clark, WHYY; Jerry Sweeney, Brandywine Realty Trust; Lindsey Scannapieco, Scout