Department of Making + Doing

University City Science Center

Funding Received: 2013
Philadelphia, PA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
July 24, 2013


At the Department of Making + Doing (DMD), we have been discussing where to begin. Our proposal was built around a POD to be located at the entrance to the 37th Street pedestrian walkway, directly across from the new DMD headquarters on Philadelphia’s Avenue of Technology. To support placemaking activities, we planned on leveraging combined skills and design expertise with NextFab Studio prototyping resources (3D printers, laser cutters, CNC milling machinery, etc.) to design and fabricate a unique, highly visible and versatile placemaking POD.

Where and how to begin the POD design and first series of placemaking activities have generated passionate conversations around placemaking and community. These discussions somehow brought up Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto for Growth and some appropriate advice from John Cage.

John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis.
His advice:

Begin Anywhere.

This simple two word phrase removed the tension of trying to establish a highly defined starting point. It reminded us not to hesitate. To follow our instincts. To begin with what we know. Listen. Ask good questions.

So, we have begun developing a series of temporary interventions designed to spark a dialogue with pedestrian traffic and our neighbors. To ask questions, gather ideas and feedback, to collectively brainstorm possibilities and/or future uses for the 37th Street Walkway. To begin defining what our intended ‘Pod’ should look like and what are its many functions.

Recent Wins

DMD was mentioned in:

Insight / Provocation

How best can we address commitments made while striving for the best possible outcome?