The Sense of Place Project
Summary of Follow-up Meeting,
February 25, 2000

For a summary of the original Sense of Place meeting, see The full report is available at

Over thirty of the Sense of Place Future Search participants attended a follow-up meeting at the Convention Center on Friday, February 25, 2000. Many of those who were not able to come indicated their continuing interest in the project and asked to be kept informed about the outcome of this meeting. The following summary is provided for those who could not come and as a synopsis of the meeting for those who did.

The purpose of this meeting was described in the invitation of February 4: "We will advance the vision for the future by devoting time to the plans, direction, and activity of each of the nine action groups. We hope to expand the community of participants. Finally, we will collectively shape the future of the Philadelphia Sense of Place Project." The first of these agenda items—to devote time to the activities of the nine action group—required a more specific focus than the group thought useful at this meeting. Few of the action groups had met or spoken since the November meeting, due in large part to the lack of cohesiveness in these groups, the haste with which we parted on that final day of the Future Search, and the lack of an organizational structure through which the members could easily communicate with one another.

Instead, the group focused on the future of the Sense of Place project, including the prospective community of participants. The following questions were considered at length, consensus was achieved, and specific actions were proposed.

  1. What is our definition of the Philadelphia Region?
  2. The consensus was to include more than the five counties of Delaware, Chester, Bucks, Montgomery, and Philadelphia. Also to be included would be southwestern New Jersey, all of Delaware and several additional southeastern Pennsylvania counties as far west as the Susquehanna, including, for example, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Dauphin. We were reminded that this broader definition of the region reflects William Penn’s legacy. One advantage of broadening this definition is to include all three state capitols: Trenton, Dover, and Harrisburg. Establishing this definition of the Philadelphia cultural watershed at this moment allows us to expand our list of possible participants and to begin to think of ways to incorporate the state governments in our undertakings. The National Endowment for the Humanities planning grants to Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania, awarded in December 1999, will result in one implementation grant for a Philadelphia-based Humanities Center for the Mid-Atlantic region.

  3. What are the goals of this project?
  4. Most agreed that our goals should include

  5. Do we need to establish a more concrete mechanism for facilitating communication, for fundraising, and for convening meetings?
  6. There was considerable consensus in this area. Most agreed that time was of the essence if we are to continue the momentum of the Future Search.

  7. What activities would this ad hoc group immediately launch?
  8. Several initiatives were proposed in round-table as well as group discussions. The following suggestions received the widest support:

  9. What form should this organization take?
  10. Those who attended unanimously agreed that a concrete structure was needed in order to perpetuate the efforts of the Sense of Place project to date. All agreed that it was imperative that individuals be willing to step forward and assume the leadership of the project in the form of a Steering Committee.

    The following people have agreed to serve on the Steering Committee. Their e-mail addresses are included here. We encourage those not at this meeting to contact them with questions and/or comments and to volunteer to participate in one of the above described activities.

    The following have agreed to serve as Committee and Sub-committee Chairmen:

We encourage your ongoing and active participation in these activities. Please encourage others to join us. While we have yet to fully define all of the issues that face the Cultural Heritage Resources of the Philadelphia region, we have made good progress. Thanks to everyone who has contributed in the conversation so far. Please join us as we continue this important dialogue.

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