public workshop site

public workshop

[chicago, philly, ..?]

Alex Gilliam is the founder of public workshop

A cheerleader of possibility, Public Workshop creates uniquely engaging opportunities for youth and their communities to shape the design of their cities.

We are redefining the way that youth participate as citizens and leaders in the design of their communities, and addressing the most pressing challenges in the world around them. In the process, we are fundamentally re-imagining education by reshaping how and where learning occurs.

Working with our partners and clients, we develop inspiring curricula, transformative youth design leadership programs, innovative participatory community design tools, engaging events and thoughtful strategies that help people rethink possibility. We accomplish this by relentlessly challenging and radically rethinking assumptions about how people learn and design occurs. Our students and clients are smiling (and in some cases leaping) because we believe that the very best learning and design occur when it’s challenging, empowering and fun.

Over the past fourteen years we have worked with numerous public schools, organizations, museums, universities, architecture firms and city agencies including openhousenewyork, DreamYard, Charter High School For Architecture and Design in Philadelphia, Rural Studio, Hester Street Collaborative, Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas, Chicago Architecture Foundation, Landon Bone Baker Architects, National Building Museum and the City of Austin, Texas. We are nationally recognized experts on K-12 design education with an emphasis on service learning. Our work has been….


…and launching (2012) Tiny WPA, a program to redesign and rebuild city’s schools, public spaces and micro-infrastructure through improvements initiated by youth.

Initiated by Public WorkshopTiny WPA is one component of our efforts to grow an army of talented community-design leaders that will make Philadelphia THE national model for how we engage young people in the design of their cities and help lay the foundation for an incomparable future of community-generated civic innovation in our city. Tiny WPA  grows out of the incredible desire of the many young adults that we have worked with in Philadelphia and beyond to have a positive impact on the places they live; a host of civic needs that can be best met by young adults; the remarkable impact that we have seen time and time again in communities when their young adults become design leaders; the transformative effect our community design leadership programs have had on the learning and self-efficacy of young adults; and the need to create a sustainable model that not only has demonstrable impact on Philadelphia’s diverse communities but effectively conveys valuable life-long design and leadership skills to the participants.


intro’d to Alex and public workshop  via cl alliance‘s series on learning where you least expect it.


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CM 2013: Let Youth And Communities Design & Build Our Future

are you ready to be a building hero?

make design visible… move yourself to the sidewalk..

in the city ness

one of most important factors is time –

as the day ness


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Public Workshop creates uniquely engaging opportunities for youth and their communities to shape the design of their cities.


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city ness

city as school – models