What’s our future in Philadelphia?

Thanks to Knight Foundation, we’ve found our groove & our tribe. Our greatest strength is connecting aspiring changemakers who are passionate about their city, hungry to do development differently, and looking for people & ideas that share their values.

We’re ready for a space. We’ve also been asked to host more city fieldtrips, pop-up parlors, and a podcast to connect people working on the same problem in different places.

Our greatest strength is connecting aspiring changemakers who are passionate about their city, hungry to do urban development differently, and are looking for people & ideas that share their values.



The Opportunity:

After convening diverse guests at locations around the city, the Urban Consulate seeks to create a mini “city lobby” to introduce people, projects & ideas transforming Philadelphia & other cities.

The Space:

Designed with a welcoming, intimate, old-school embassy vibe, the space will host weekly conversations, meetings, interview sessions, co-working & drop-in hours.

An on-site gallery, library, directory & video display will offer information & connections for visitors looking to learn & engage. A “Diplomat on Duty” will answer questions & make referrals to creative community initiatives in Philadelphia and other cities.

We already have all the content! Through our to showcase We’ve been collecting through the planning & production of our past programs. Now all we need to do is bring it to life in a walkable & accessible place that invites locals & visitors together.

Proposed Activation:

  • Proposed Duration: 3-6 months

  • Proposed Timeframe: Spring-Fall 2019

  • Weekly parlor talks & public open hours

Prospective Locations:

  • Cherry Street Pier

  • Center for Architecture & Design

  • Arts & Crafts Holdings

  • South Street storefront

  • Public parks, markets, libraries & historic houses

Estimated Budget:

  • 3-month activation: $50,000

  • 6-month activation: $80,000

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Philly Fieldtrip (July 2018). Photo Credit: Heather McBride.

City Fieldtrips:

After hosting 2-3 day exchanges in Philadelphia & Detroit, we’ve been asked to offer more. curated trips to/from Philadelphia to introduce urban changemakers across cities.

The objective: For emerging innovators, who may not have the organizational budgets to register for all the national conferences, to learn about creative neighborhood-based projects and meet their “twins” in other cities.

Past urban exchanges have included 3 elements: 1) a public forum, with speaking opportunities for guests to share their work; 2) personal introductions to local innovators, and 3) curated site visits led by knowledgeable local hosts. To this, we’d like to add publication of insights & takeaways.

Estimated Budget:

  • City Fieldtrip: $10,000

  • Delegation: 10-15 guests

  • Duration: 2-3 days


Travel Stipend Fund:

We are most interested in offering learning/exchange opportunities to emerging leaders, community advocates & social entrepreneurs who may not have the benefit of large budgets for professional development.

To this end, we seek to create a Travel Stipend Fund to provide small $1,000-2,000 scholarships for “Urban Envoys” through a simple application process. Envoys will be asked to share:

  • The problem they are looking to solve

  • The host organization from whom they wish to learn

  • Three insights & takeaways to share afterwards with the wider community

Estimated Budget:

  • Travel Stipend Fund: $12,000

  • Monthly Stipends: $1,000-2,000/mo



The Concept:

A podcast that eavesdrops on cross-city conversations between people working on the same problem in different places.

Each episode, guests from Philadelphia, Detroit, New Orleans & other cities trade sticking points, solutions, frustrations & encouragement—the human side of working to make better places.

The goal, as with all Consulate programs, is to share knowledge, think critically, and find solidarity in common challenges.

The Interest:

We’ve heard strong interest from our Consulate followers to do more broadcasting of city conversations. But we don’t want to create content just for the sake of it. There are a bajillion podcasts; we only want to create something that provides value. No mediocre content to just sit on our website.


The Consulate team has media experience, with three members who have worked in journalism & publishing. And we have a broad network & deep bench of smart, creative talent. Some examples of media work to date:

  • In 2017, we teamed with StoryCorps to produce a collection of interviews about the city, with one segment syndicated nationally on public radio.

  • In 2016, we produced a 3-part video series, Change & The City, featuring thought leaders in Philadelphia, Detroit & New Orleans, selected for a citywide film festival.

  • We livestream our public conversations, working with MILO Digital in Detroit & Witty Gritty in Philadelphia, that reach 500-1,000 viewers.

  • We serve as a regular source for city publications & platforms scouting urban stories & speakers. We also often coordinate media interviews & writing/speaking opportunities for our guests.

  • We’d love to produce simulcast conversations across cities, but we’ll be honest—we are not confident enough in the technology for a meaningful live experience. We think a podcast may be a better means to share knowledge & ideas across cities.

  • When we surveyed Consulate followers, we asked about interest in virtual connections, online content & cross-city discussion formats. Online webinars ranked low. But there is strong interest for peer-to-peer introductions & conversations.


  • Pilot season of 12 episodes

  • 20-30 minute episodes

  • Curated themes & guests, popular topics

  • Professional producer/editor

  • Media partner/distributor

  • Live conversations / listening events

Estimated Budget:

  • Pilot Season of 12 episodes: $48,000