Following in the pattern of blight eradication projects in Kensington like Greensgrow Farms and Phoenix Community Park, wind energy company Clean Currents is sponsoring Lots of Power (http://lotsofpower.net), a teen-centered design competition that pairs a high school urban planner-to-be and two professional mentors to find new public use for abandoned lots in the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood.
Teaming up with Kensington Renewal, Delaware Valley Green Building Council and the American Institute of Graphic Arts of Philadelphia, Clean Currents launched the competition earlier this summer. Five student “design mentees” were paired with two professional mentors who worked with the teens over six weeks to develop their design concepts and present a budget. Though most of the finalists attend Science Leadership Academy in Center City, the collaboration process emphasized site visits and understanding the “ecosystem” and history of the Kensington community. The final projects have been up for community voting on Clean Currents PA’s Facebook page since September 20.
“Lots of Power came directly from conversations that we had with Philadelphia residents…,” said Gary Skulnik, President of Clean Currents in a press release. “It is only natural that we would want to involve the public in the voting process so that we can help transform their neighborhoods in a way that benefits everyone.” One winner will be chosen by community votes, and a second by a panel of “city stakeholders.” Clean Currents will provide grants up to $2,000 to implement the projects in the coming months.
Public voting closes at midnight tonight, Sept. 27, so get your vote in for your favorite design. A reception will be held on October 11 at 6 p.m. to display the final two designs at AIGA’s headquarters, SPACE, at 2nd & Arch, with performances by the School of Rock.
Danielle Wayda is an editorial intern at Grid and a recent graduate of Mount Holyoke College.