Sparking Civic Engagement by Building in Public Spaces


Inspired by the New Deal-era Works Progress Administration, the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Tiny WPA organizes projects that empower youth to reimagine, redesign, and rebuild spaces at their schools and in their communities. Tiny WPA’s ambition is to “engage young people in the design of their cities and help lay the foundation for an incomparable future of community-generated civic innovation.” This seven-minute video, about a DIY design-build playground project, captures Tiny WPA’s hands-on, trial-and-error learning philosophy. You’ll hear from Alexa, a youth participant, who thinks typical playground equipment is too prescriptive. In her playground, she says, “We’re not telling you how to think—we want you to show us how you think.”

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Organizations Referenced

Tiny WPA, Public Workshop

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