I believe in active citizenship.

Current Work: Germantown United CDC

Since 2015, Emaleigh Doley has served as Corridor Manager at Germantown United Community Development Corporation, who’s mission is to promote and facilitate the revitalization of Germantown and its business corridors through a sustainable, creative, and community-driven approach to economic development. Germantown United CDC works closely with representatives from the Philadelphia Department of Commerce to funnel resources into Germantown.

In her work at Germantown United CDC, Emaleigh assists existing business owners, property owners/landlords looking to make building improvements in order to attract new tenants, and entrepreneurs interested in doing business in Germantown access services, grants, and other resources to aid their business.

A lifelong Germantown resident with deep understanding of both the history and present-life of the neighborhood, she is well-respected by community residents, among peers throughout the city, within city government, and among local politicians. Her professional and civic work revolves around communication – how we build connections, the stories we tell, and how we share them.

Germantown United CDC provides the following services to support the neighborhood’s commercial businesses:

  • Assistance to existing businesses to strengthen and retain current economic base and grow businesses.
  • Attract new businesses to fill vacancies, diversify the mix of commercial uses in the business district, and increase job opportunities.
  • Track proposed development projects and zoning applications in the commercial district, and inform the community about neighborhood change and development.
  • Collaborate with community partners to increase safety and improve public perception of the commercial corridors as a safe place to live, work, and conduct business.
  • Manage the business district, organizing existing stakeholders around a common vision and brand.
  • Implement beautification projects along the commercial corridors to improve appearance and atmosphere, including streetscape improvements in partnership with the City of Philadelphia.
  • Bring planning resources, and other available sources of funding to support recommended revitalization strategies to the corridor.
  • And more!
As part of her work, Emaleigh manages the creation of content for Germantown United’s communications outreach, which includes the organizational website, the online business directory, email listserve, and social media networks: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.
Previous work experience that has greatly informed her approach to community engagement includes serving as: programming consultant with Mural Arts Philadelphia, the nation’s largest public art program; lead organizer and producer of the annual TEDxPhiladelphia conference from 2011-2015; and Audience Engagement Editor at Next City, a nonprofit media organization covering public policy and current affairs from an urbanist perspective.

Board Service: Healthy Rowhouse Project + Citizens Planning Institute

When not entrenched in the revitalization of Germantown, she serves on the strategic vision team of the Healthy Rowhouse Project, which is working to improve the health of Philadelphians and preserve critically needed affordable housing by using innovative strategies to improve housing conditions in thousands of rowhouses each year.
Emaleigh is also an advisory board member and graduate of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s Citizens Planning Institute (CPI). The Citizens Planning Institute’s mission is to empower citizens to take a more effective and active role in shaping the future of their neighborhoods and of Philadelphia, through a greater understanding of city planning and the steps involved in development projects.PCPC’s “integrated planning and zoning process” which includes CPI, won the 2013 National Planning Excellence Award for a Best Practice from the American Planning Association.

Volunteer Work in Germantown:

Communication is paramount. Throughout her community work, Emaleigh has drawn from her professional experience to cast a wider net, influence neighborhood initiatives, rally the troops and get Philadelphians, local leaders, and the media engaged and excited about community organizing. Most of her attention has been focused on the Germantown neighborhood, located in Northwest Philadelphia.

“Cities just don’t plan like they used to. That leaves tactical urbanism as one of the few tools for making change… The methods the Doleys employ are worth watching — and imitating all over Philadelphia.”

– Inga Saffron, Pulitzer Prize-winning Architecture critic at The Philadelphia Inquirer

the w rockland street project


After the foreclosure crisis in 2009, Emaleigh and her sister Aine started The W Rockland Street Project in response to escalating quality of life concerns. From dangerous abandoned houses to chronic illegal dumping, W Rockland Street was hit with a slew of dramatic neighborhood changes. The block also saw an increase in poverty and joblessness, vacancy and decay, population, criminal activity, noise pollution, and litter. What can a few people do about some of city’s greatest ills? They had but two options – do something or move.

From 2009 – 2015, ongoing efforts to improve the block were documented on the hyperlocal website In response to a noticeable uptick in development activity in the northwest and few public forums for residents to access such information, the blog also evolved to include news about planning and development issues.

The W Rockland Street Project has garnered much acclaim and is the winner of numerous honors including the City of Philadelphia’s 2011 Neighborhood Transformation Award and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s City Gardens contest. Explore an archive of the blog at | @rocklandstreet


changing_germantownAre you on Facebook? The Changing Germantown Facebook Group offers a broad view of development activity at play in and around Northwest Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood and insight into what community stakeholders are thinking. Members are invited to freely post photos, articles, comments and opinions related to urban planning and design, community development, and zoning issues in Germantown. The group now boasts over 2,000 members, and was founded by sisters Emaleigh and Aine Doley, and is moderated by a group of neighborhood residents.