Building Community Resilience and Citizen Engagement

Course Number: 
GAFL 533


  • Fall 2016
Hybrid Days and Time: 

This course will meet in-person from 2:00-5:30pm on the following Fridays and Saturdays: September 9-10, October 14-15, November 18-19, December 2-3. The course will also meet online every Tuesday evening from 6:45pm-7:45pm.


Course Description: 

Quality of life is a critical issue for many of the most challenged urban neighborhoods.  With constant budgeting constraints and challenges, how do we go about making an impact in a sustainable way? How do we engage, listen and solicit community input and show measurable progress?  Borrowing from the success of the award-winning PhillyRising Collaborative*, Philadelphia’s neighborhood improvement program, this course will involve students in both learning and implementation of a comprehensive neighborhood service delivery model. The course will present and refine a multi-tiered service model and best practices to: 1) create a logic model that identifies and prioritizes the most challenged communities; 2) engage crucial community heroes (stakeholders) and anchor institutions; 3) build momentum, credibility, and a support network for much needed resources; 4) select technology to spur innovation and support engagement; 5) integrate city police to execute a true community policing model; 6) develop a performance management plan to measure progress, deliver outcomes and reward citizens. 

Students will come away with the skills necessary for fostering collaboration between neighborhood stakeholders and city service departments to customize and prevent the cookie cutter solutions that are all too common in municipalities across the country. Through this listening-based model, students will learn how to improve a neighborhood’s quality of life in a measurable way, while simultaneously increasing citizen engagement to empower sustainable change into the future. *The PhillyRising Collaborative significantly improved many of Philadelphia’s most troubled neighborhoods and has helped spur double digit reductions in crime and improve quality of life.  PhillyRising is a crucial part of the Citizen Engagement efforts what have been recognized by the White House as “Champions of Change”.

PhillyRising has also been recognized by the international Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) for Community Oriented Governance and received “First Place”, by the US Conference of Mayors for its work with GunStat and youth anti-violence prevention strategies. Block Stat video -

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Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829