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Rebuilding Philly

“Rebuilding Philly: Perspectives on How the City can Recover from the Pandemic” is a series of expert essays published jointly by Drexel and The Philadelphia Inquirer in late 2021 as Philadelphia grappled with the magnitude of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the civic unrest following the murder of George Floyd.

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Nowak Metro Finance Lab 

Drexel has honored Jeremy Nowak's legacy by creating the Nowak Metro Finance Lab, a new initiative he was working to launch to explore ways of financing what he called the inclusive city.The lab’s founding director is Bruce Katz, Jeremy’s friend, co-author of their recent book, The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism, and a renowned urban expert who brings more than 30 years’ experience and expertise in urban governance and finance with the Brookings Institution, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Development...For Good

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Reimagining the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

With support from William Penn Foundation, the city of Philadelphia requested proposals from renowned design teams to create a world-class public realm plan for pedestrian-centric, permanent changes that will dramatically improve the safety, functionality, and beauty of the Parkway. The Lindy Institute is advising the City on this project.

As of October 2021, Design Workshop was chosen to lead the project to design a more welcoming, pedestrian-friendly Parkway.

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Urban Strategy in the Present Tense 

The COVID-19 Crisis and Minority Business Recovery

Urban Strategy in the Present Tense is a conversation series featuring notable urbanists discussing their frontline work in urban resilience, as well as sharing their insights about public policymaking, urban problem solving, and life in Philadelphia.  

The series is produced by the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University in partnership with the Urban Strategy Masters Program in Drexel's Westphal College of Media, Arts & Design.

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Financing Creative Placemaking


Over the course of the last ten years, creative placemaking has grown from a niche activity to the mainstream of arts-based community development. It has influenced every sector of community practice from health and housing to public safety, youth development, and environmental sustainability. It has caught the attention of local government agencies, community organizations, anchor institutions, and philanthropies as an important mechanism for community change. 


Though the field of creative placemaking has been built and supported most prominently by arts funders, practitioners frequently piece together funding from a variety of sources across many sectors to make the work happen. In times like these, when arts funding is under strain, the nature of creative placemaking activities could offer potential for harnessing resources across sectors.

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46th & Market Sts. Opportunity Zone Investment Prospectus

aerial image of 46th and Market Sts. in West Philadelphia

The Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation is working in partnership with The Enterprise Center to prepare an Investment Prospectus for the Opportunity Zones immediately adjacent to the 46th St Market-Frankford Line stop. The prospectus development process serves a collaboration of stakeholders seeking to collectively share information with potential investors about their development projects and produce positive community impact. 

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A Vision for the Lower Schuylkill

Aerial of the PES Site

In June of 2019, an explosion and fire at the Philadelphia Refining Solutions (PES) site along the lower Schuylkill rocked local neighborhoods and Philadelphia residents, prompting questions about what had caused the explosion, as well as calls for increased scrutiny over continuing refining operations at the site. A month later, after all refining operations had ceased, PES filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, leaving a lot of uncertainty about the site’s future as a refinery


Supported by a grant from the William Penn Foundation, the Clean Air Council lead a limited civic engagement effort around Evergreen Resources’ remediation planning and public comment process. Alongside this outreach, the Council engaged the Lindy Institute to facilitate a short visioning process to solicit public input around visions for the long-term redevelopment of the site.

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Richard Florida releases inaugural Philadelphia Fellowship report

Richard Florida at Smart City Expo: World Congress

The Philadelphia Fellowship was created as a collaboration of Drexel University, Thomas Jefferson University and the University City Science Center to bring scholars to the city for year-long research engagements focused on pressing urban issues. Richard Florida, PhD, was selected as the first recipient because of his groundbreaking research on urban demographic changes and his books, The Rise of the Creative Class and The New Urban Crisis. 

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Catalyzing Community Capacity

Parklet in University City

In 2018, The Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation began to study community-created and stewarded interventions like parklets, pedestrian plazas and bicycle corrals, and the processes by which they are created. The resulting report, Catalyzing Community Capacity, was released in September 2019.

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Housing Reports

Each quarter, Kevin Gillen, PhD produces reports on the current state of the region's housing market. Currently, he produces three separate reports each quarter, covering Philadelphia county, the Philadelphia Region and the Jersey Shore, respectively.

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COVID-19 Research Reports

Since the advent of the COVID-19 crisis, fellows and staff of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation and Nowak Metro Finance Lab have worked to respond, both through original research and in adapting existing initiatives to address the evolving effects on communities. 

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Exploring the Effects of Lockdown on Youth during the Pandemic

Fiesta Schoolyards, a non-profit organization with the goal of transforming elementary school yards in Philadelphia, conducted a survey of parents and caregivers over an 8 week period in 2021 focusing on answering the following question: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the mental and physical health of elementary-age children differently who live in a city, in the suburbs, or in a rural area?

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Past Projects

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