21 Apr Connect the Dots to lead Roundhouse Community Engagement with Amber Art & Design
Our team is so excited to have been selected to lead the engagement process surrounding the Roundhouse alongside our partners at Amber Art and Design! Our diverse multidisciplinary team includes planners, artists, experts in trauma-informed engagement and community mental health, placemakers, historic preservationists, and a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds.
Read the City’s full press release announcing the project team below:
Community engagement for the Roundhouse to begin this summer
The City has selected a multi-firm team to lead community engagement about the future of the former Police Administration Building located at 7th and Race Streets, also known as “the Roundhouse.” The community engagement team led by two experienced consultant firms: Connect the Dots and Amber Art and Design will begin work in May.
The community engagement process is a significant first step in the preparation for redevelopment of the Roundhouse. The consultant team will engage with Philadelphians citywide for input on what they think should happen to the site after the Police Department completes their move to North Broad Street. The outcome is expected to be a vision plan for the site that provides community-driven, realistic guidance to the City regarding its future use.
Connect the Dots and Amber Art and Design have experience working with historically underrepresented communities in Philadelphia. Their joint proposal demonstrated experience with trauma-informed public engagement, planning for racial equity, outreach to multiple constituencies, conflict resolution, real estate economics, public space design, and engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The consultant team’s work will incorporate youth outreach through One’s Up, led by Alex Peay.
The consultant team also has an internal advisory group made up of Mindy Fullilove, MD; WSP USA; and SITIO architecture + urbanism.
“This is a new process for us,” said Ian Litwin, a planner at the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and project lead for the Roundhouse. “We want citywide engagement because the site represents something to communities all across the city.”
The Roundhouse was designed in 1959 and dedicated in 1963. At the time of the building’s construction, the City of Philadelphia cleared entire city blocks for future development in a practice called urban renewal. The building’s unique shape and heavy concrete form are notable features that also make redevelopment challenging.
The community engagement team is sensitive to the complex relationship many Philadelphians, most notably communities of color, have with the Roundhouse and its 60-year history as the home of the Philadelphia Police Department.
“We recognize the importance of reflecting on the history of community trauma as the City looks to the future,” said Marisa Denker, CEO of Connect the Dots. “Community engagement is much more than meetings. We will use many-layered methods to meet people where they are and enable the sharing of citywide stories, memories, and hopes for the site.”
The project will kick-off in May and community engagement will begin in summer. The City expects a final report on the findings in early 2023.