“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”
— Jane Jacobs

The Sharing Stories Initiative was born out of a question: how do humans get to know one another?

The initiative’s goal is to fully engage our community in the creation of PUBLIC SPACES where we can share our stories, get to know our neighbors, the issues that affect our communities, while celebrating the rich history of North Philadelphia as a strategy to catalyze change.

Lack of spaces for conversations to take place is a contributing factor to the preservation of false narratives and dividing practices (at a personal, neighborhood and institutional level). With little time in the student turnover cycle to build deep and lasting relationships, the lack of spaces designed specifically for the integration of North Philadelphia delays unifying our community.

These story sharing spaces represent a community visioning process that strives to involve residents and students in creating and deciding on their mutual future. Therefore, constructing spaces for dialogue which are inclusive, engaging, and inspiring.


Story sharing is one of the best ways for strangers to get acquainted with one another; quirky anecdotes about childhood mishaps, heartwarming tales of beloved pets and the occasional raw account of a self-defining experience. Through sharing our stories and attentively listening to the stories of others, we open ourselves to a level of understanding and respect. In the end educating ourselves by knowing opposite lives.

The site - 2264 N 17TH STREET

design event at church of the advocatE

On December 3rd we held a design event at Church of the Advocate where members from the North Philadelphia community, both Temple University students and long-term residents came together to discuss what they hoped to see in this space. Everyone had the chance to be a designer and artist this day. 


Photos of event by Nhat Nguyen


Here are a few of the designs you came up with: 



Tiles with images of our process, paired with historic mementos of the city have been installed onto the fence sorrounding the site.



How you can get involved

To help us organize this project we've divided the workload between Action Circles, they're teams that will focus on a certain aspect of the project.

Fundraising: Focusing on different ways to pay for the various aspects of this project, these strategies range from designing items to be sold to canvassing local businesses for donations. 

Material Gathering: Compiling a list of all the elements we'll need to bring our designs to life. 

Outreach: Getting the word out about this initiative. We're hoping to get the involvement of as many different groups of people as we can, varying in age, gender and background. 

Memorial Day Event: This project will end in a celebratory event on Memorial Day that this group will be in charge of planning. 

Design/Build: This team will have the biggest hand in deciding what goes on the site. They will create prototypes and studies of for the designs. 

If you would like to help out but don't have any free time in your schedule you still can! We could use soil, grass seed, shade loving plants, cardboard, plastic bottles, and food for our event. 

For this event we partnered with AIAS (American Institute of Architecture Students) without them this would not have been possible.

For this event we partnered with AIAS (American Institute of Architecture Students) without them this would not have been possible.