Archive for Recent Events

College Outreach & Engagement Panel Recap

On April 22nd, the American Planning Association, Pennsylvania Chapter, Southeast Section (APAPASE) and Temple University’s Student Planning Organization (TSPO) hosted a Zoom College Outreach and Engagement Panel Event. Graduate planning students from schools in the Philadelphia region – including Bryn Mawr College, Temple University, UPenn, and West Chester University – participated in the hour-long event, which was moderated by Andrew Halt (TSPO President).  Panelists consisted of three APAPAPASE members:

  • John Federico, PE, AICP, a project manager with over 20 years of professional experience in multimodal transportation planning and design, including bicycle, pedestrian, transit, parking, and integrated land use-transportation projects.
  • Lorianne DeFalco, AICP, a technical director and LEED Green Associate with over 15 years of experience in the environmental consulting, planning, and engineering industry.
  • Matthew Popek, AICP, a Transportation Planning Assistant Manager at Montgomery County Planning Commission, and a former TSPO President.

With a mix of environmental and transportation disciplines and public and private sector background experience, the panelists provided perspectives on the current entry-level hiring process and opportunities, as well as personal career movement. The panel answered questions related to experiences on work styles, recent project assignments, and on-the-ground community engagement. The event was a success and APAPASE is looking forward to future events with planning programs within the Philadelphia region.

2019 Annual Event Recap

Southeast Section Hosts 2019 Annual Event on Housing

On Thursday, November 14, 2019, the Southeast Section held their yearly event, bringing together about 30 planners from Philadelphia and the region – including private sector, public sector, and students – to network and share ideas. The event was held in the historic MAAS building in the revitalizing Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. The building, originally built in 1859 as the Charles Maas Brewery, later became a trolley car repair shop for the Girard Street trolley line. After falling into disrepair in the late twentieth century, the building was recently revitalized using reclaimed materials and modern technology to serve as an arts and events space. The venue’s varied past and recent revitalization (as well as its cozy size) made it an appropriate setting for discussing the topic of sustainable architecture and housing trends.

Justin Dula, Chair of the Southeast Section, welcomed attendees and announced that this would be his last event as Section Chair before turning the position over to current Vice Chair Alexis Williams in January. Rebecca Ross of the Delaware County Planning Department introduced the speakers and moderated discussion at the end of the presentations. Robert Fleming, architect and Founding Director and Professor of the Sustainable Design Program at Thomas Jefferson University, started with a broad overview of the need for sustainable design and the challenge of convincing the public of its value. In his presentation, Professor Fleming emphasized that he believes sustainability lies at the intersection of People, Profit, Planet, and Place. This is an update to the triple-bottom line concept, suggesting the role that quality design can play in sustainable development. The next speaker was Stephanie Sena, the Founder and Executive Director of Student-Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia (SREHUP) a non-profit homeless shelter operating since 2011, and The Breaking Bread Community, an affordable Housing Initiative, which builds houses, community centers, community gardens, and art installations for people in poverty and their pets. She spoke about her organizations and her most recent project to build “cozy cottages” at affordable prices for formerly homeless individuals. Finally, Brett Madsen spoke on the challenges of permitting innovative housing projects – such as tiny homes – under the current Philadelphia code and permitting process. Brett is a licensed expediter with years of experience in Philadelphia, and his firm, Permit Philly, manages the Philadelphia permit process for clients from the first call to the issuance of the certificate. Speaker presentations are available here and a shared album of event photos can be found here (feel free to add yours if you attended!).

The presentations rounded off with a panel discussion with questions from the audience. While mingling and networking, attendees also enjoyed gourmet snacks and desserts from Seedling and Sage catering. Student architectural works from the Charter High School for Architecture and Design (CHAD) were on display for the viewing (and tactile!) enjoyment of the attendees. It was another successful event to wrap up an exciting year of planning in Southeast PA!


Future City Competition 2020 Recap

The theme for this year’s Future City Competition – held on Saturday, JanuaryThe winning team with their city 18th – was Clean Water.  Teams of middle schoolers from around the Philadelphia region were tasked with designing a city that guaranteed a reliable water source for all citizens.   APA PA SE continued our support of the event by providing a judge at the competition, who awarded Queen of Angels Regional Catholic School (Willow Grove, PA) with the APA, PA Chapter, SE Section Award for Planning Excellence.

Students from Queen of Angels demonstrated a clear vision for their city, the reimagined ancient city of Tenochtitlan, and they were able to articulate their process for achieving goals that supported their vision. For their efforts, they were also awarded 3rd place overall.  Lionville Middle School claimed 1st place at Future City Philadelphia Competition, and they will represent the region at the finals on February 28th. Downingtown Middle The winning team with their awardSchool rounded out the top three with a 2nd place finish. Congratulations to all of the students who participated in this year’s competition!

Future City Engineering Fair Recap

APAPA-SE participated in the 2nd annual Future City Engineering Fair at SAP America in Newtown Square, PA on Saturday, October 26. This year’s competition theme is Clean Water: Tap Into Tomorrow. Volunteers Addison Larson (Princeton Mathematica) and Bill Deguffroy (McMahon Associates) engaged students in a hands-on activity to demonstrate the benefits of incorporating green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) into roadway design. The activity, which was devised by Bill Deguffroy, showed students how GSI (kitchen sponges) absorbs and filters stormwater by capturing pollutants Southeast Chapter's booth at Future City(breath mints) and forcing water to drain slowly, thereby minimizing flooding and helping maintain a healthy urban environment. The children liked the learning activity, and students, parents, and teachers asked questions about applying this concept to their models, as well as careers in planning! A special thank you to our volunteers!

APAPASE booth at the Future City Engineering Fair. Our volunteers Addison Larson (Princeton Mathematica) and Bill Deguffroy (McMahon Associates) engaged students in a hands-on activity that demonstrated the benefits of GSI and its relation to clean water.

Mentor Opportunities

Also, Future City Philadelphia is still looking for mentors for the following middle schools in the Greater Philadelphia region:


  • Keith Valley Middle School – Horsham, PA
  • Lehighton Area Middle School – Lehighton, PA
  • Montgomery County OIC – Norristown, PA
  • Penn Wood Middle School – Darby, PA
  • St. Alysius Academy – Bryn Mawr, PA
  • St. Hilary of Poitiers School – Rydal, PA
  • St. Jane Frances de Chantal School – Easton, PA
  • St. Katherine of Siena School – Philadelphia, PA
  • St. Martin de Porres Catholic School – Philadelphia, PA
  • Stewart Middle School – Norristown, PA
  • The Anderson School – Eagleville, PA


For more information about your role as a mentor go to: https://futurecity.org/participants/mentors.


For more information on mentoring, please contact: Mike McAtee at mjmcatee@urbanengineers.com.  

APA PA SE Happy Hour

On Thursday June 6th, the APAPASE Events Committee hosted a Planning Professionals’ (and adjacent professions) happy hour and networking event. A high turnout meant lots of new connections, and plenty of patrons for La Peg’s gorgeous outdoor beer garden. After a little over an hour of socializing, the group headed across Christopher Columbus Boulevard to Race Street Pier. As the sun set over the city, a large yoga class practiced at the end of the pier, and several cyclists took in the busy scene.

The happy hour group settled in on the wooden steps of Race Street Pier and looked toward a bustling Cherry Street Pier, while speakers Chris Puchalsky of Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation Infrastructure and Sustainability (OTIS) and Chris Dougherty of the Delaware River Watershed Corporation (DRWC) spoke about their work in transportation and the waterfront, and upcoming projects planned for the city. Chris Puchalsky discussed the city’s efforts to connect many of Philly’s neighborhoods through multiple types of transit in order to move away from the car-centric nature of the streets. He briefly addressed issues of scooter trends that are present around the country, and Philly’s stance based on safety and infrastructure concerns. Chris Dougherty discussed the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation’s plans for the many properties along the waterfront. DRWC has an aggressive strategy for renovating some large spaces along the Delaware, including Graffiti Pier, and a plan to open it to the public in the next year.

Multi-transit and waterway-connectivity projects are at the forefront of many Philadelphian’s minds as the city continues to support public works projects that connect citizens to their built environment in new and exciting ways.

Thank you to all of those who attended; APAPASE is excited to hold more events like this in the future!

Planners come together for the Southeast Section Annual Event

The Southeast Section’s annual event brought together planners in Lansdowne Borough, Delaware County to explore how communities can leverage history and the arts to revitalize communities. The event was held on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 and included a walking tour and panel discussion as well as time for socializing.

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Earthfest 2018 – Planning & Youth Engagement

On an unseasonably cold and blustery April day, aspiring planners from the Temple Student Planning Organization (TSPO) – in partnership with APA Pennsylvania’s Southeast Section (APA PA SE) – hosted a booth at Temple University’s EarthFest.  The purpose of this annual event is to teach students about sustainability concepts and promote environmental awareness.  This year, the event honored Dr. Jeffrey Featherstone, founder of the Center for Sustainable Communities and professor in the Department of Planning and Community Development at Temple University.


TSPO volunteers led elementary and middle school students in an exercise designed to foster a discussion about planning and encourage them to think about how land can be sustainably developed.  Using an enlarged aerial map of the field in which they were standing, students were asked to guess what the map depicted. With impressive regularity, students correctly identified the location of the aerial.  Next, volunteers led a discussion of various types of development, culminating in students suggesting ideas for developing the field by placing sticky notes on the map. Some of the most compelling responses were “homes but cheap” and “a nature preserve,” though “swimming pool” seems to be the perennial favorite.  The APA brochure What Planners Do was also available at the booth and used to spark discussions with interested chaperones.

Each year, Temple University’s EarthFest provides an opportunity to engage with students and their families about the work that planners do to improve communities.  The participation of TSPO and APA PA SE in this event is a small but meaningful way in which the planning community can promote a greater understanding of the important role planning has in our society.

Event Recap: Social Justice and Public Health

On Wednesday, August 30th, 2017, APAPASE hosted the event Principles to Which We Aspire: Social Justice and Public Health. The morning event took place in the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s main conference room. The session spoke to the link between social justice and public health through healthy community design, food access, and financial stability, while relating all topics to the AICP code of ethics. The speakers included Amanda Wagner, MCP, MGA, of Get Healthy Philly; Caroline Harries, AICP, Associate Director, The Food Trust; and Lisa Servon, Professor and Department Chair, City Planning, University of Pennsylvania.

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Dedicated to Health Care for Philadelphia’s LBGT Community: The Mazzoni Center

The Mazzoni Center, in the heart of Philadelphia, is the only single health care provider in the region that specifically targets the unique health care needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. With only minor service interruptions to its patients and clients, and in spite of going through significant organizational turmoil, Mazzoni moved to occupy a brand new facility on May 30, 2017 on Bainbridge Street, just east of Broad Street.

On June 20th, APA’s LGBTQ and Planning Division’s Co Vice-Chair, Communications, Justin Dula, AICP, organized a group of approximately 25 attendees for a 2-hour evening tour of the new facility with Philadelphia’s Queer Urbanist Exchange. The tour was conducted by Mazzoni’s Director of Development, Mytili Jagannathan, to showcase the four floors of new space that will be used for one of the newest and most comprehensive LGBT service facilities in the nation.

Founded in 1979 as an all-volunteer clinic to serve the needs of sexual minorities in Philadelphia around the time when the first cases of HIV/AIDS began to appear in the early 1980s, the organization quickly responded, becoming the oldest AIDS service organization in Pennsylvania, and the fourth-oldest in the nation. As Mazzoni grew and evolved to meet the needs of the community, it combined HIV/AIDS-related services with a broad array of interconnected health care and supportive services: outreach, prevention, education, direct medical and care services, psychosocial services, legal services, and support groups. Now, over 35,000 individuals benefit annually from the services of the Center and demands have continued to grow.

Mazzoni Center is now going through a time of turmoil that is threatening the continued existence of the organization, has continued to provide services to clients and move to the new location. There were substantial management and board changes after allegations surfaced of illegal and improper conduct among management and doctors after the groundbreaking of the new building. Now, Mazzoni is working to enter into an era of transparency and accountability and regain the trust of the LGBT community, particularly patients and staff of color, transgender and gender non-conforming. The construction of a new facility amidst this organizational crisis may be one of the few bright spots for the Mazzoni Center in the past months and can hopefully be a catalyst for reconnection with the community.

Easily accessible to public transit, the existing building that Mazzoni renovated was formerly home to a Department of Public Welfare office that had been unoccupied for several years. The total gut renovation substantially expanded the space available to Mazzoni’s existing spectrum of services, which now includes a primary care medical practice, mental health counseling program, case management, housing-subsidy program, and food bank, in addition to all of the previously-existing services such as legal services, education and prevention programs, bringing all of Mazzoni’s programs and services to a single, central location.

The new Mazzoni Center location nearly doubles the size of the family and community medical practice space and creates more opportunities for hiring additional clinicians; it incorporates additional wellness services and provides care to many more people than the old space allowed. Mazzoni will also greatly expand its Open Door behavioral-health program, add several more counseling rooms and therapists, and open the region’s first Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) dedicated to providing recovery services specifically for LGBTQ individuals struggling with addiction.

The new building also features a ‘town hall’ gathering space, where community events, educational programs, and wellness workshops will take place. As Ms. Jagannathan and Board of Directors members advocate about the new facility: “Providing our staff with a more functional and efficient work environment is another important step in improving overall delivery of care. Our staff is truly the heart and soul of what we do, and the reason that so many people have entrusted us with their care for so many years. Bringing the full staff together under one roof will foster more effective staff collaboration and communication, with common spaces designed and configured to promote meaningful interaction among our many care and service providers.”

The APA’s LGBTQ and Planning Division wishes the Mazzoni Center the very best in its efforts to strengthen it accountability and transparency needed to reconcile relations with our community and continue to fulfil its exceptionally important mission in the Philadelphia region. Congratulations on a successful transition to your new home, where we hope the newly restructured and community based organization will provide improved services for decades to come.

This article was authored by Justin Dula, AICP and Neal Stone, AICP and appeared in the LGBTQ & Planning Quarterly Newsletter, summer 2017 edition. Justin Dula, AICP, is the Chair of the Southeast Section of APA Pennsylvania and Co Vice-Chair for Communications of the LGBTQ and Planning Division. Neal Stone, AICP, is Past Chair of the LGBTQ and Planning Division. Photos courtesy of Justin Dula and Christian Xtn Hansen.

EarthFest 2017: Planning and Youth Engagement

A warm, sunny, and windy day was the setting for EarthFest 2017 on April 28th at Temple University’s Ambler Campus.  EarthFest is an annual event promoting environmental awareness to elementary and middle school students from across the region.  This year, the Southeast Section (APA PA SE) partnered with Temple’s Student Planning Organization (TSPO) to host a combined booth focused on sustainability and planning.   Our volunteers engaged students in two planning activities – one related to transportation and the other land use – to give them a basic idea of what many planners do on a regular basis.  The booth also had informational materials, including an APA brochure explaining “What Planners Do.”  

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