Alessa Rubendall for Democratic Committee Person in Ward 46, Division 2 (Cedar Park/Garden Court)
Bio: Alesa is an architect, business owner, dedicated community organizer, loving wife and unapologetic tiger mom.
She has focused her professional and volunteer energies in promoting diversity and equity, expanding educational opportunities for under-served communities, advocating for gender equality, cultivating design thinking and fostering sustainability. She currently serves on American Institute of Architects (AIA) Philadelphia, AIA Pennsylvania, and Green Building United respective board of directors and co-chairs the Women In Architecture committee.
Alesa is proud to be a West Philly resident for more than a decade. She moved to Philadelphia 25 years ago for the opportunity and decided to stay because of the community!
1. What street in your neighborhood is most in need of improved conditions for pedestrians and people on bikes? What would you do as committeeperson to make it better?
Although not located directly in my neighborhood, Market and Chestnut Streets definitely serve it. Both arteries have complicated streetscapes that often suffer from the lack trees, obstructed bike lanes (or no bike lanes), congested or fast-moving vehicular traffic, and uninviting city fabric that makes the pedestrian experience less desirable in some sections. Given these streets importance to the local street grid and the overall city experience, I would encourage lawmakers to conduct a comprehensive study that dives into how to make those areas universally safer and accessible for all modes of circulation, as well as being more engaging so that they can foster an environment future improvements and growth.
2. What street, public space, or building in your neighborhood has the best urbanism? What makes this space successful, however you define that?
The Baltimore Avenue corridor is one of the important lifelines of my community. It exhibits many core fundamental attributes of healthy urban corridors. It is a multi-modal street periodically anchored by several parks of different scales, lined by a mix of land uses, dappled by ample trees and connects West Philly neighborhoods and beyond with Center City.
3. How would you use this neighborhood leadership position to advance urbanist political causes in Philadelphia?
I decided to run for committee person to be an advocate for West Philly and help leverage our collective voices. As an architect, I think our biggest challenges can be our biggest opportunities for transformational change and progress. I am an ardent supporter of investing in our citizens and the civic realm in which we interact. I believe that our built environment should reflect our aspirational commonalities and not resign to the lowest common denominator. Mindful planning, creative thinking, and strategic partnership/collaborations can help the City and its lawmakers wisely invest in our city's bright future so that all Philadelphians can benefit and prosper!