Fast Company — “Studio Gang’s Plan to Revitalize Rust Belt Cities? Use What’s Already There”

Civic Commons: Reimagining Our Cities’ Public Assets

September 12, 2016

Fast Company profiles Studio Gang’s work with the Knight Foundation and the Kresge Foundation as part of the recently announced national initiative Reimagining the Civic Commons.

“Gang and her team have long been engaged with civic revitalization efforts through one-off projects, like their 2015 Polis Station project, a proposal for turning police station into community centers as a way to increase community engagement and combat police brutality. But now, the studio is working with the Knight Foundation and Kresge Foundation to apply this type of thinking on a much larger scale, by reimagining existing community spaces in Southwest Philadelphia, like libraries, parks, and recreational centers, to fit more precisely with a city's needs today. Alongside the foundations, they're creating a blueprint for four other cities looking to do the same.

The project is part of a $40 million initiative announced last week called Reimagining the Civic Commons that invests in civic buildings in American cities that have fallen into disrepair or out of productive and widespread use. Funded by the Knight Foundation, the JPB Foundation, the John S. and The Kresge Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation, the initiative will connect architects with community leaders in cities including Akron, Chicago, Detroit, and Memphis, to revitalize the cities' public spaces, particularly in low-income or working class neighborhoods, in an effort to reverse trends of economic and social segregation.

Studio Gang and the foundations have been testing the concept since 2015, in a neighborhood in Southwest Philadelphia, in order to establish guidelines for the four launch cities. The foundations reached out to the studio after seeing the Polis Station on exhibition at the first annual Chicago Architecture Biennial. While Knight and Kresge had already been working in Philadelphia on the social and political aspects of the Civic Commons plan, they needed an architect to take the community's needs and synthesize them into a practical design proposal that all cities could use.”

Read more at Fast Company