Author, Professor, and Designer, Toni L. Griffin to be Honored at the Edmund N. Bacon Urban Design Awards

The Center for Architecture and Design (Center) will host a talk by urban designer and professor of Urban Planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Toni L. Griffin, the 2022 recipient of the Edmund N. Bacon Urban Design Award. Professor Griffin was selected based on her focus on design justice and prompting critical questions such as: "Would we design better places if we put the values of equality, inclusion, or equity first?" Her work mirrors conversations the Center is having about the future of our student design competition and how we can use it to help design students become better designers with a ubiquitous lens of equity, inclusion, and justice in their approach to urban design, planning, and architecture. The ceremony will be held on March 24, 2022 in person at 1218 Arch Street and online on Zoom. Reception is from 5:30-6:30 pm, and the ceremony will begin at 6:45 pm. Registration is required. 


Toni L. Griffin is the founder of urbanAC LLC, based in New York, a planning and design management practice that works with public, private, and nonprofit partnerships to reimage, reshape and rebuild just cities and communities. The practice designs and leads complex and transformative social and spatial urban revitalization projects addressing historical and current disparities involving race, class, and generation. Over the past ten years, we have successfully collaborated with several major U.S. cities on the cusp of just social and economic recovery. Recent cities include Chicago, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Memphis, and Detroit.


Ms. Griffin is also a Professor in Practice of Urban Planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She teaches design studios and seminars also rooted in social and spatial justice issues. She is the founder and director of the Just City Lab, an applied research platform that investigates the ways design can have a positive impact on addressing the conditions of injustice in cities.


Toni is the author of multiple articles on design justice and co-editor of The Just City Essays (2015) and the upcoming publication The Just City Dialogues:  Disruptive Design (2021). She has lectured extensively in the U.S., Netherlands, South Africa, and South America, and between 2016-2020 served as an Obama Presidential appointee to the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts.


The awards honor the legacy of Philadelphia's ambitious and outspoken City Planner, Edmund N. Bacon [1910-2005], recognized as one of the most significant city planners of the 20th century. As the first Executive Director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, from 1949-1970, his design concepts shaped the post-World-War-II city's physical landscape. Bacon's work had such national significance that he was featured on Time magazine's cover in 1964 and brought Philadelphia into the national spotlight as a city that was ambitiously planning for its future. Past awardees include


·       Dr. Mindy Fullilove, Psychologist and Professor at the New School

·       Ed Rendell, former Mayor of Philadelphia and Governor of Pennsylvania

·       Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation

·       Denise Scott Brown, Founder + Principal of Venturi Scott Brown Associates

·       Paul Goldberger, former Architecture Critic for the New Yorker Magazine

·       Janette Sadik-Kahn, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation

·       Enrique Peñalosa, Mayor of Bogotá, Columbia

·       John Hickenlooper, Governor of Colorado




About the Center / Architecture + Design

An independent non-profit, the Center was founded in 2002 by the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Philadelphia). The Center provides the public with a place and programs to explore architecture, urban planning, and design, allowing us to understand how these creative professions affect us in our daily lives. Using Philadelphia's distinctive breadth of architecture, pioneering urban design, and diverse manufacturing heritage as the foundation for discussion, we educate the public through exhibitions, guest speakers, hands-on workshops, design competitions, city-wide festivals, and children's programming. The Center brings together architects, designers, developers, thought leaders, and the public under one roof and provides office space for AIA Philadelphia and the Community Design Collaborative. The Center is open to the public five days a week. For more information, visit

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