'Project Runway' could be a new paradigm for fixing Philly's problems - Technical.ly Philly

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Aug. 30, 2017 12:58 pm

‘Project Runway’ could be a new paradigm for fixing Philly’s problems

A tech-savvy team of Philly experts, led by the Committee of Seventy, delivered a 100-page report on how to improve PHL Airport. What else could “civic consulting” tackle?
Welcome to Philadelphia International Airport.

Welcome to Philadelphia International Airport.

(Photo via @PHLAirport on Twitter)

A band of 17 Philly experts in a wide range of fields — among them P’unk Ave’s Geoff DiMasi, Bluecadet’s Brad Baer, Comcast’s Danielle Cohn and Greenlight Fund’s Omar Woodward — joined an effort to make flying in an out of PHL International Airport a better experience.

The Committee of Seventy’s “Franklin Challenge” is a civic consulting push from the watchdog organization. For the challenge’s first task, it recruited the help of the local experts to product a 100-page report with suggestions aimed at making traveling through the airport a friendlier, more memorable experience.

The undertaking’s charmingly cheeky name: Project Runway.

The airport is expected to respond to the report in one month. A year from now, the group of advisors will return to the airport (which at one point ranked among the country’s worst) to review any enacted changes.

“We see the Franklin Challenge as a new kind of civic consulting,” said Committee of Seventy CEO David Thornburgh. “We look forward to offering this opportunity to other government agencies and institutions around the City and region.”

Per Philly.com, the watchdog organization received $31,536 for the project from the airport’s aviation operating fund.

The challenge is in a similar vein to this joint push to help SEPTA Key’s user experience woes. A key difference: that study was unpaid and unsolicited, and done on a volunteer-basis by experts from Think Company, Code for Philly and 5th Square. It’s also in the same neighborhood as the Benjamin’s Desk partnership with D.C. incubator 1776, aimed at linking startups up with resources to solve Philly’s problems. 

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Maybe this is the way to go to help Philly become the best version of itself: link up people in the know with those in power to make changes. But the latter would need to listen to the former.

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