News Release: May 13, 2016

Germantown, Philadelphia to Receive Planning Assistance from Volunteer Team

CHICAGO—A pro bono planning assistance team from the American Planning Association will be working in Germantown, a neighborhood northwest of downtown Philadelphia, May 16 -20, assisting the neighborhood in developing a community vision for reinvestment along the West Chelten Avenue corridor. 

The team is part of the American Planning Association’s professional institute’s Community Planning Assistance Teams program. The program matches communities that have no planning staff or need additional planning assistance with planning experts from around the country. Teams have previously assisted with advancing community planning goals, economic development, transportation and post-disaster recovery.

The Germantown United Community Development Corporation requested the planning assistance for a three-block stretch of the Chelten Avenue business corridor. During its visit, the volunteer team of planners will tour the neighborhood, conduct an interactive workshop with residents and offer recommendations for enhancing and strengthening the current retail mix, leveraging historic resources and envisioning a more consistent urban design. The team also will suggest community-supported uses for vacant or underutilized sites.

Community members can offer their input to the planning team during the interactive workshop on Monday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m., at the Flying Horse Center, Pegasus Room. The team will also present their preliminary results on Thursday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Flying Horse Center.

The Germantown Community Planning Assistance Team is a group of selected planning experts based upon their knowledge of revitalization strategies, economic development and urban design principles. The team is led by Philip L. Walker, AICP. Walker has more than 25 years of experience in community planning and established the Walker Collaborative in 2002. Team members include:  

  • Juan Ayala – Co-founder and managing principal of GRID Design Studios LLC (Metuchen, NJ)
  • Ricardi Calixte – Deputy Director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation (New York, NY)
  • Nikolas Davis, ASLA – Senior Associate at Houseal Lavigne (Chicago, IL)
  • Ralph Moore – Executive Director of the Memphis Area Association of Governments (Cordova, TN)

Read more about the Germantown Team.

Communities seeking planning-related assistance can apply for a Community Planning Assistance Team. The Community Planning Assistance Team program was established in 1995 to help serve communities with limited planning resources. Previous teams have recently worked in North Beach, Maryland; Spanish Fork, Utah; Shreveport, Louisiana; and Deerfield Beach, Florida; among other locations.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning -- physical, economic, and social -- so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, with almost 38,000 members worldwide in nearly 100 countries. For more information, visit

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Andy Trackman, GUCDC, 215.603.3690;

Roberta Rewers, APA, 312.786.6395;