About Us

Lehigh Valley Parklet Mission

The Lehigh Valley parklets project aims to improve the pedestrian experience in urban neighborhoods, creating a safer, cleaner, greener, friendlier, and more walkable community. Inspired by the shift in urban planning toward low-cost, scalable approaches, this Mountaintop Project models how small initiatives can strengthen neighborhoods, encourage economic activity, and foster community.

Meet the Team

Karen Beck Pooley, Faculty Advisor

Karen Beck Pooley is a Professor of Practice of Political Science, teaching courses on city planning, neighborhood and housing issues. She also serves as a Senior Associate at czb LLC, an urban planning and neighborhood development consulting firm, and advises the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Allentown (RACA). She was the Executive Director of RACA from 2007 to 2011 and, prior to that, a Deputy Director within New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development and a Research Associate at the Institute for Children & Poverty. Dr. Beck Pooley has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Wellesley College, a Master of Urban Planning & Policy from New School University’s Milano Graduate School, and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of City and Regional Planning. Both her research and professional work focus on neighborhood revitalization strategies and the evolution of federal, state and local housing policy.  She is currently researching the interplay between the “geography of affordability” (where housing is relatively affordable) and the “geography of opportunity” (where there is access to jobs and high-quality schools).

Adam Heidebrink-Bruno, Data Analyst & Research  (2018-2019)

Adam Heidebrink-Bruno is a Ph.D. student in the Literature and Social Justice program at Lehigh University. He has been involved in a number of public arts and community development projects since he moved to the region five years ago. His two most recent endeavors are Southside Initiative’s hyper-local news project, Southsider, and Tackling T.I.N.A. a public discussion series focused on economic justice.

Jillian Cowles, Research & Design (2019)

Jillian Cowles is a rising senior studying Material Science and Engineering with a Minor in Music at Lehigh University. She is a Choral Scholar at Lehigh, heavily involved in the music program, and currently does research in the Materials for Advanced Technologies & Sustainability laboratory with Professor Siddha Pimputkar. She was President of Alpha Omega Epsilon, the engineering and technical science, professional and social sorority last year and remains an active and dedicated member.

Savanna Hang, Event Coordinator and Outreach (2019)

Savanna Hang is a rising sophomore studying Marketing and Product Design at Lehigh University. Her passions are in creativity and innovation, and she’s interested in learning more about the creative process with consumer care, community, and business. Her research interests involve designing beneficial materials and products for her community and other people. She loves spending her free time Latin dancing with her friends.

Jack Temple, Design and Construction (2018)

Jack Temple is a rising senior studying Civil Engineering at Lehigh University. He has many years of experience in light construction through several mission trips he’s attended and projects around the house with his dad. His coursework has included drafting and AutoCAD experience as well. He is also actively engaged in the Bethlehem community as a Young Life leader at Liberty High School.

Jasmine Banful, Design and Construction (2018)

Jasmine Banful is a rising junior studying mechanical engineering at Lehigh University. Before Lehigh, she interned at NYU’s Facilities and Construction Management, working with the project managers team on urban planning and analyzing the effects NYU’s new developments had on the community. Currently, Jasmine acts as the community coordinator for her dormitory and is on the planning committee for Lehigh After Dark.

Katie Myers, Design and Construction (2018)

Katie Myers is a rising junior in the undergraduate Industrial Design program at Pratt Institute. She has a background in furniture and household goods design. Recent projects have included creating puzzle top stools for New York Public School classrooms, and a hanging luminaire for the Illuminating Engineering Society’s annual student design competition. She is excited to apply her knowledge of construction and design development to the project. 


We want to thank the sponsors, advocates, and donors that made this project possible. Our success and impact wouldn’t have been possible without the funding and support provided by:

  • Lehigh University’s Mountaintop Initiative
  • City of Bethlehem
  • Joe’s Tavern Bar & Grill
  • Roasted
  • Neighbor’s Home and Garden
  • Bethlehem Parking Authority