Casino Licenses, Waterfront Development and the Role of Civic Engagement

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Today, the state Gaming Control Board will make its decision regarding casino licenses and the waterfront development.  More than 850 Philadelphia residents between Allegheny Avenue and Oregon Avenue have attended community meetings surrounding the waterfront development issue and were very vocal about their expectations.  A University of Pennsylvania professor can comment about the importance of civic engagement on this and other hot-button issues.


  Dr. Harris Sokoloff

  Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania


* Author of "Deliberative City Planning on the Philadelphia Waterfront"

* Led a series of forums for the city regarding waterfront development; research focuses on community development and civic engagement

* Media-savvy and reporter-friendly


"The developers have an interesting challenge.  On the one hand, they can move ahead with their plans, following their normal routine: to keep the community informed, but uninvolved.  On the other hand, they can engage the community as real potential partners that are involved in meaningful ways, developing relationships where they use community input, like the values expressed in the first phases on the waterfront development project.  This kind of engagement builds stronger relationships and commitment on both sides.  It can serve as the basis for long-lasting and productive relationships that are mutually beneficial."

"The Project for Civic Engagement is working with Penn Praxis to provide an opportunity for the casinos to understand the neighborhood's values and encourage conversation and regular feedback opportunities."