Sacred Places Civic Spaces

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How can historic sacred places support civic engagement, social cohesion, and neighborhood equity?

Infill Philadelphia is an initiative of the Community Design Collaborative to explore key community development challenges and opportunities through design. Infill Philadelphia engages communities in re-envisioning their neighborhoods, leveraging existing assets, rethinking the use of older spaces, and addressing the practical concerns of specific sites and the communities around them. Infill Philadelphia: Sacred Places/Civic Spaces is a package of community-engaged design services including programs, promotion, and projects with the common goal of re-envisioning historic underutilized sacred spaces as civic spaces.

Philadelphia has hundreds of active congregations in purpose-build religious properties acting as stewards of underutilized spaces. Whether it is a vacant sanctuary, sparsely-used meeting hall, or mothballed Sunday School wing, these spaces offer real opportunities for congregations to fulfill their missions and build stronger bonds between places of worship and the surrounding community.

Sacred Places/Civic Spaces is a partnership between the Community Design Collaborative and Partners for Sacred Places to re-envision underutilized, purpose-built religious properties as community hubs. The initiative will add the design and development community's voice to a growing dialogue about the intersection between historic sacred places and communities. It will strengthen relationships between sacred places, community organizations, and service providers with a mutual interest in co-location.

Sacred Places/Civic Spaces will demonstrate that underutilized space in historic sacred properties throughout Philadelphia can be activated in ways that expand the civic commons, serve a larger secular purpose, and strengthen communities.

Note:  The above descriptive information came from the organization's About Sacred Places/Civic Spaces page.

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