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Urban Strategy in the Present Tense ft. Alexa Bosse, Ari Miller and Kiasha Huling

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.

This installment of our conversation series focused on the Philly Tree Plan with:

  • Alexa Bosse, Founding Principal
  • Ari Miller, Director of Design at Hinge Collective
  • Kiasha Huling, Environmental Organizer with Clean Air Council

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.

Alexa Bosse, RA, AIA is a registered architect and founding principal of Hinge Collective, a public interest design firm focused on bringing the power of design to all people.  With master’s degrees in both architecture and landscape architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and professional experience working across design disciplines and both non-profit and private sectors, Alexa has honed her skills as a convener and a facilitator to realize ambitious community-driven projects. Alexa has taught graduate and undergraduate level studios focusing on public interest design at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Design, Jefferson University, and Drexel University.

Ari Miller, RLA, CPRP, ISA Certified Arborist is the director of design at Hinge Collective, a public interest design firm that puts community engagement and public participation at the forefront of their practice. As both a landscape architect and arborist, Ari has always advocated for the integration and restoration of natural systems in urban design. Over the course of his 18-year career, Ari has worked as an arborist at Morris Arboretum, as a green roof design specialist at Roofmeadow, and has also led large scale civic design projects at OLIN. At Hinge, he uses this experience to help communities find design solutions that best support human and ecological health in their own neighborhoods through the enhancement of public space and community-led planning. Ari has also been adjunct faculty at the Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania and Jefferson University.  

Kiasha Huling, MSW is a graduate of Temple University’s College of Liberal Arts with a degree in Psychology and the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a Masters in Social Work. Kiasha’s career began in direct service social work and research. Later she created and directed Social Work and Outreach programs for Sayre Health Center, a school based federally qualified health center in West Philadelphia. Through working in communities for public health campaigns and resource education Kiasha discovered the intersection of environment and health. A frequent theme that emerged was that a greener and safer environment encouraged residents to engage in proactively managing their health and wellness through outdoor recreation and socialization.

Kiasha would go on to lead UC Green, Philadelphia's oldest and largest community greening nonprofit. Through collaboration with academic, civic and business sectors, UC Green has planted and maintained over 5000 trees in West and Southwest Philadelphia. She introduced models of programming and engagement that amplified environmental equity and social cohesion, including the UC Green Equity Fund that addresses environmental barriers in planting residential street trees like old tree removal and sidewalk repair so that neighbors who cannot afford to fix problems that prevent them from having a tree are not excluded from tree planting.

Today Kiasha is an organizer with Clean Air Council, building capacity, community and coalition around accessible trails and the Cobbs Creek and environmental concerns. She serves as a consultant for nonprofit development and relationship building. Kiasha served on the boards of Food Moxie and UC Green. She continues to support neighbors in realizing a community held vision for more equitable, abundant, vibrant vision of a greener, healthier, safer Philadelphia.