The Karabots Fellows Study Philly Public Spaces

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program talk with Michael Nairn, Professor of Urban Planning at Penn, in the courtyard of Philadelphia City Hall

In addition to learning about healthcare and medicine, the students of the Karabots Junior Fellows Program have been learning about different perspectives on living in Philadelphia. Recently, they took part in a set of field trips to learn about urban planning and design in the city, as well as getting the opportunity to connect with Philadelphia college students. For two sessions the Fellows met with Michael Nairn, Professor of Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and his undergraduate Urban Studies class. During the first session, they traveled to Dilworth Park, the public park surrounding City Hall. There they met with Susan Weiler, who headed the team that designed the park. Susan offered her unique perspective on the development of a public space, going into detail about the decisions that motivated the creation of Dilworth Park, as well as insights into the field of architecture. Michael challenged both his students and the Fellows to think about the definition of “public space” and the social, economic, and political negotiations that term entails.

The following week, the Fellows traveled to Penn to meet with Michael and his students at their class. It gave the opportunity for them to connect with college students in a real class environment. The Fellows and students broke into groups to discuss what they had learned at Dilworth Park; however, conversations quickly turned to sharing experiences: life in college, living in Philadelphia, and other interesting topics. It was a great opportunity for the Fellows to get a sense of what to expect during their future academic pursuits.