Archive for Recent Events

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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APAPA-SE, DVRPC and PennDOT Connect on Transportation

On Thursday, February 23, 2017, APAPASE and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) co-hosted a breakfast event about PennDOT Connects. The event, which took place at the American College of Physicians building in Philadelphia, featured Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Leslie Richards, Brian Hare of PennDOT, and Elizabeth Schoonmaker of DVRPC, presentations are available here. Secretary Richards kicked off the event with a twenty-minute presentation where she explained transportation’s role in connecting communities and supporting economic development. Under the PennDOT Connects initiative, PennDOT will take an earlier and more active role in reaching out to communities to enhance engagement with local communities and improve transportation-project planning, design, and delivery so that transportation investments support a community’s vision and goals.

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2017 Philadelphia Future City Competition Points to a Bright Future

Regional Winner: Lionville Middle School Source: futurecityphilly.org

If it’s true what they say, ‘children are our future,’ then we have some very smart cities to look forward to! On Saturday January 21, thirty-six middle schools from southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware competed in the 2017 Philadelphia Future City Competition held at Archbishop John Carroll High School in Radnor.

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EarthFest 2016 Recap – Youth Engagement and Planning

 

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Over 200 curious young visitors stopped by the APAPA-SE activity booth at Temple University’s EarthFest 2016 on April 22nd.  An annual event at the Ambler Campus, EarthFest promotes environmental awareness to elementary and middle school students from across the region.  Continuing a multi-year tradition, APAPA-SE hosted a booth to support the effort.  This year, our four volunteers engaged students in two planning activities – one related to transportation and the other land use – to give them a very basic idea of what planners do on a regular basis.

The transportation-related activity had students placing stickers to indicate whether they walk, bike, drive, or take the bus to get to school, visit friends/family, visit park/playgrounds, and go shopping. While not exactly scientific, this informal survey had over 230 responses and provided some interesting results (see the tally we put together and feel free to draw your own conclusions). Overall, the kids were really excited about the activity – especially the stickers – and it got them thinking about the pros and cons of how they travel, both for their own personal health and the health of the environment.
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EarthFest 2015 Recap – Youth Engagement and Planning

EarthFest 2015

“If you could do whatever you wanted with this lot, what would you do and why?”  David, age 9, responded, “I would plan a kingdom so that I could be king.”  If only we could all have the visionary powers to dream up a kingdom like David (and if only it were that easy)!  Along with David, hundreds of curious young visitors stopped by the APAPA-SE activity booth at Temple University’s EarthFest 2015 at the Ambler Campus on Friday, April 24th.  They each were prompted to respond to that same question we asked David.

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Annual Event Wrap-up: Lasting Partnerships in Downtown Revitalization

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Thanks to all those who attended or contributed to APAPA SE’s Annual Event on Thursday, November 7th at Lansdowne’s beautiful 20th Century Club. It was a great event for learning, networking, and connecting with fellow planners!

For those who were unable to attend, or for those who did attend but would like more information on the material presented, below are some of the links used in the presentations about the great work being done in Lansdowne:

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Nov. 26: Emerging Professionals Committee Meeting

Are you a planning student, emerging professional, or planner new to the profession? Do you like to organize events like walking tours, happy hours, and educational events related to planning? Then join the APAPA-SE Emerging Professionals Committee! We’ll be meeting at DVRPC on Tuesday, November 26 to discuss events for 2014. We’ll be in Conference Room C on the 8th Floor. We will also have a call-in code for those who are unable to attend in person. Please RSVP so we can provide a list of names to security: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/8993209933/eorg

Delco Celebrates Bike to Work Day

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It was a picture-perfect, cool and sunny spring morning when dozens of cyclists left their cars at home and rode their bikes to work in Media instead in celebration of Bike to Work Day.

On Friday, May 17, the Delaware County Transportation Management Association (DCTMA) and the Delaware County Planning Department partnered up for Bike to Work Day, drawing County employees and other bicyclists from as far away as Upper Darby. Cyclists enjoyed refreshments during the morning celebration held outside the County Courthouse. Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union was the main sponsor with Wawa, Trader Joe’s, and Main Line Water providing water, orange juice, and fresh fruit. Participants also entered into a special raffle for prizes donated by local businesses.

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