Tactical Doing: Public Workshop
An Interview with Alex Gilliam, founder of Public Workshop, a Philadelphia-based community design organization.
Written by: Gilad Meron
Photos: Public Workshop
“I’ve always been interested in the idea of making things from nothing. When I was a kid I’d always grab my Lego box and try to make something totally imaginary, like a whole city or something else awesome. So when I found out about this I was like, wait... I’m actually building a whole park? And not just a park, but a whole mini-world filled with beaches and cities and forests! I’m getting to do something real; it’s such an awesome feeling.” This is how 16 year old Alexa Eddy described her experience with Tiny WPA, the flagship program of Public Workshop, a Philadelphia-based organization that works with local community partners to create programs that engage youth in civic design projects.
Launched in early 2012, Tiny WPA is a program that aims to redesign and rebuild Philadelphia’s public spaces and micro-infrastructure through improvements initiated by local youth. These design/build projects not only help transform neighborhoods, they also help train the next generation of civic leaders. Each Tiny WPA project functions as a mini boot-camp of sorts for young adults like Alexa who are passionate and hungry to have a positive impact on their neighborhoods and cities. By teaching them how to design and build “micro-infrastructure” like the playground Alexa described above (pictured on the right) Tiny WPA projects are putting young adults at the forefront of stimulating civic engagement in their communities.
To Read More Subscribe to PUBLIC Journal or purchase Issue Online with the PUBLIC App.