Sign up and join the conversation with PlanPhilly’s new discussion tools

A few years back, when Penn Praxis was developing a long-range vision for the Central Delaware Riverfront, thousands of Philadelphians turned out for hundreds of meetings to let politicians, planners and developers know what they wanted their waterfront to look like. That vibrant civic engagement helped create an action plan that is the foundation for work going on now to create six miles of new trails, refurbished piers and new neighborhood connections to the river.

The success of that public interaction with the forces that impact on our built environment is the reason PlanPhilly has created a brand new participation experience for our online community.

Beginning today, PlanPhilly will make it possible for individuals and groups to add content to pages created to allow them to express opinion, provide information about ongoing efforts, and build constituency for their organizations. At the start, we will focus the discussion on Zoning Reform and The Public Realm.

We are delighted that the new Participate section will:

• Facilitate greater stakeholder (and source) participation in creating content and communications through the site. This will be particularly important in encouraging constituents to affiliate with organizations, campaigns and other individuals through the site. 

• Encourage new leaders to emerge by giving users the ability to create campaigns, post content, post action alerts, and communicate with supporters using online tools. Using PlanPhilly’s news and information and existing audience as a springboard, stakeholder groups and individuals will be able to build constituency for their causes, elevate issues, and share opinion.  

Importantly, content will be branded and ‘housed’ separately from PlanPhilly’s journalism and carry appropriate disclaimers, and participating individuals and organizations will be reviewed and approved before given posting permission.


At the core of the Participate section is the ability for individuals to ‘raise their hand’ and share a perspective or initiate a campaign, but only as a recognizable person. This person could be an individual, a member of a group, a leader or spokesperson of a group or an elected official or decision-maker, or a news source.

Featured Contributors: 
Concerned citizens, opinion leaders and organizations can apply to PlanPhilly for a “Participate” account. The application form would have a few questions about the person’s or organization’s background, interests, and goals, and would require full contact information.

Contributors can post blog posts, news articles, photos, videos, points of interest, and events.  Future project phases could provide support for additional types of content.

Participate in a Community Dialogue:
 The second way of aggregating content would be a Campaign. Participants would create, either on their own or at the request/suggestion of a group, a campaign which would have its own profile and landing page. Campaign landing pages would feature an overview/position statement of the campaign and content recently posted to the campaign.

Learn More About Issues:

For this pilot project, PlanPhilly is looking to start dialogue specifically around the issues of Zoning Reform and the Public Realm. But we want the conversation to broaden. So PlanPhilly will also provide links to other issues pages related to the built environment in Philadelphia. On these pages, PlanPhilly will provide links to news stories, videos, event listings and opinion posts associated with the issues of Bicycling, Casinos, Design, Development, Environment & Sustainability, Government, History & Archaeology, Infrastructure, Parks & Recreation, Planning, Preservation, Public Space, Riverfronts & Waterfronts, Safety & Security, Technology, Traffic & Transportation, Vacant Property and Zoning.

So let’s get talking. Join our initial participants, the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, Society Created to Reduce Urban Blight, The Next Great City, the Built Environment Advocacy Coalition and AIA Philadelphia, as a robust dialogue about the most pressing issues around zoning reform and our public spaces grows in Philadelphia. 

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