3479 West Girard Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19104
Call Us 267.225.8356
3479 West Girard Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19104
267.225.8356 info@centennialparkside.org

Chris Spahr

Chris Spahr

Executive Director

My family has a long history in West Philadelphia. My mom grew up in Southwest Philly and I was born in the suburbs in Exton. I grew up in Mechanicsburg, PA just outside of Harrisburg but spent much of my childhood visiting family in the western suburbs of Philadelphia with occasional visits into the city. These awe-inspiring visits to the streets of Philadelphia sparked my love for cities and the energy that flows through them and inspired me to become an urban planner.

In 2019, I completed a PhD in Urban Planning from the University of Wisconsin and now serve as an Urban Innovation Fellow at Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation. My research has focused on how social enterprises within communities can build wealth through shifting resource ownership to communities. These are the same topics that motivate me to serve the East Parkside community.

I have a varied background, which has allowed me to work in east Africa and South America as well in non-profit youth development in Harrisburg and as an urban planner in the private sector in Pennsylvania and in Wisconsin. The events in my life that have led me to Philadelphia are numerous and diverse, but all point in the direction of service to communities striving to reach their fullest potential. It is with this spirit that I am motivated to serve the East Parkside Community as the Executive Director of the Centennial Parkside CDC.

Education: University of Wisconsin, Madison – PhD in Urban and Regional Planning (2019); Shippensburg University – Masters in Geoenvironmental Studies; Penn State University – Bachelors in Environmental Resource Management

Work Experience: Peace Corps (Paraguay), 2005 – 2009; Michael Baker International (Harrisburg and Madison, Wisconsin) 2009-2014; State Smart Transportation Initiative (Madison, Wisconsin), 2013-2015; Obesity Prevention Initiative (Madison, Wisconsin), 2015 – 2017.

Extra-curriculars: Brazilian Drumming, Guitar, Soccer, Basketball, and dancing with my 6 year old