Register: SEP/28/2017, Submit: OCT/27/2017, Eligibility: Undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students from the field of architecture, urban planning, design (industrial, graphic, etc.), landscape architecture, public health, economic development, environmental science, real estate law, business, Fee: 25 USD, Awards: 1st Prize 5,000 USD
The year 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway! This is the city’s grand, green boulevard linking the center of our city to Fairmount Park – the city’s largest (over 2,000 acres). The Parkway took 70 years to build, undergoing countless design changes due to conflicting visions and economic conditions, and is not considered “completed” compared with most of the plans. Construction of the Parkway required demolition of over 1,300 buildings as well as radical changes to Philadelphia’s street grid. Even with these challenges and limitations, the Parkway has been wildly successful in providing both a physical and psychological connector for generations of residents to Fairmount Park and the cultural institutions located along the Parkway.
Philadelphia has a wealth of other natural resources and cultural institutions which would similarly benefit from better linkages to their surrounding communities and with each other (perhaps with fewer demolitions than the Parkway required). This year’s challenge seeks creative and open interpretations of what a new ‘Parkway’ could be in a dense and developed 21st century city and invites teams to share your grand vision for how Philadelphia’s existing natural and cultural resources could be better linked with their neighboring communities – both physically and in the minds of residents and visitors.
Three locations are provided for exploration: Broad Street in South Philadelphia, Lehigh Avenue in North Philadelphia, or Chester Avenue in West Philadelphia. Entrants may address one or all three locations, though it is most important to address how each connects with its local community, not their connections with each other.
How can your design make it easier for (and encourage) local residents to find and visit the natural resources and cultural institutions nearby? Consider street layout, streetscape design, landscape architecture, signage, etc. Might there be organizational, marketing, or legislative solutions to consider as part of your plan?
CULTURE + RECREATION
What existing and future civic institutions (such as libraries, health clinics, recreation centers, pools, etc.) should be connected by your new parkway? How can your design improve and encourage access to nearby water resources (streams, creeks, rivers, lakes, ponds, pools)? Might there be opportunities to uncover previously buried waterways and/or to provide opportunities for swimming and water-based recreation?
How can your design help the city with its goal of collecting the first inch or more of rainwater that falls during heavy storms to reduce overflows from our combined sewer system? What innovative policies could extend the impact of your design by empowering neighbors to contribute to the goal? What new or developing technologies could be incorporated into your design to improve the health of Philadelphia’s waterways, ground water, and stored water?
How can your design create passageways that allow wildlife to migrate between and among Philadelphia’s existing green and aquatic spaces? These passageways don’t necessarily need to be human scale or human-accessible. Consider birds, bees, amphibians, small mammals, fish – especially endangered species.
ABOUT THE BETTER PHILADELPHIA CHALLENGE
Founded in 2006 in memory of Philadelphia’s iconic 20th century city planner, Ed Bacon [1910-2005], this annual international competition challenges university-level students from around the world to address real-world urban design issues in Philadelphia that have application not only to our city, but to urban centers around the globe.