The Fox DESIGNchallenge / February 25th was a great day!
Each year I organize and lead the Fox DESIGNchallenge, an annual student innovation competition to solve complex civic problems. The Challenge is sponsored by the Center for Design+Innovation at the Fox School of Business in collaboration with the Design for Social Impact program at the University of the Arts. For 2015, we partnered with the Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), the nation’s 6th largest transportation network, to tackle the challenges facing Mass transit in a culture dominated by the automobile and it’s American myth of freedom, convenience and modernity.
For 6 days, culminating in an all-day innovation workshop, 150 students (MBAs, scientists, engineers, artists, designers, technologists and geographers…) from 4 universities and Philadelphia public high schools worked together to answer the question:
How do we restore our historic connection to our transit system, and achieve the economic, social, and environmental dividends from a less auto-centric future?
This Challenge represents interdisciplinary problem solving and civic engagement at its finest. Mass Transit is a subject that crosses all boundaries and impacts all residents in the Philadelphia region. This is an opportunity for major change.
The Challenge events began 2 weeks earlier with a panel discussion at UArts featuring discussants from SEPTA, city agencies, planning and private development. This lively forum laid the groundwork for understanding the need for changing perceptions, policies and infrastructure and the context of mass transit in Philadelphia from a residential, economic, environmental and social perspective.