Kate Southerland, BMC ’23

Equitable Development

Semester: Fall 2022

Faculty Advisor: Gary McDonogh

Field Site: Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC)

Field Supervisor: Andy Toy

Praxis Poster:

Kate Southerland_Poster_Final


Further Context:

Hello! My name is Kate Southerland and my Praxis Study is named Equitable Development. Specifically for the Praxis Program, I had to create a Learning Plan that incorporated written reflections, readings, and meetings with my faculty advisor (Gary McDonogh) as well as my fieldwork component. While developing my learning plan, I listed out three main goals for myself that would benefit me in my future career: understand particular policies regarding equitable planning/development, enhance my communication skills, and improve my digital competencies.

Before I started my fieldwork, I completed some preliminary readings (ranging from academic research to New Yorker online posts) that helped me prepare and see what to expect before starting my fieldwork. My field site is PACDC (Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations). Just to clarify, a CDC is a community-based nonprofit that aims to revitalize, preserve, and overall improve the area it serves; however, not all CDCs look and act the same.

During my fieldwork experience, I have participated in many programs and initiatives including research for the Equity Development Policy Platform, GIS tasks, and other digital/office tasks.  Fortunately, my position at PACDC gave me the opportunity to grow in these areas as well as expand upon other areas of knowledge. Surprisingly, the policy research I was doing at PACDC for the Equitable Development Policy Platform helped me with my thesis by encouraging me to read and better understand federal housing policies.

Overall, I am glad I participated in the Praxis Independent Study Program as I was able to challenge myself and apply my knowledge and skills in real world situations.

Before you go, I would like for you to ponder about one thing: What does it mean for a city, community, or neighborhood to be “equitable?”