Posted September 6, 2016
  • Memorial Hall, home to the Please Touch Museum

  • Sketch of the Little City Builder interactive

  • Hive76 President Chris Terrell works on block construction

Little City Builder Planned for Spring 2017

West Fairmount Park is an area with incredible amenities born of a rich history. In 1876, the area of the park just north of Parkside Avenue was home to the Centennial Exposition, which celebrated the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia 100 years earlier. The Exposition was the first World’s Fair to be held in the United States and attracted nearly 10 million visitors.

Spring 2017 promises to be an exciting time of year in West Fairmount Park, with the ongoing construction of the Parkside Edge project as part of the Centennial Commons and the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia. The Little City Builder team will be adding to the excitement by hosting a pop-up exhibit that will enliven the plaza in front of Memorial Hall, built for the Centennial Exposition and currently home to the Please Touch Museum.

The Little City Builder installation will be free to the public and is intended to engage children and adults alike. Visitors will be invited to construct a cityscape from over-sized foam blocks that will respond to users’ actions and promote the development of a “sustainable city,” introducing basic principles of smart growth, such as compact development and access to open space.

Team members include Darcy Anders (MCP 2017), Liz Colletti (MCP 2017), Lyndon DeSalvo (MCP 2017), Nate Hammitt (HSPV, MArch 2016), and Stephanie Margolis (MCP 2017), working in conjunction with the Please Touch Museum and Hive76. The project utilizes the strength of all three collaborators, incorporating the PennDesign team’s interest in sustainable urban development, Hive76’s aptitude for creative problem-solving and engineering, and the Please Touch Museum’s expertise in “purposeful play” for children.

Over the course of the summer and fall, the team has been working diligently to refine our prototype by experimenting with different methods and materials to maximize user experience. Additional educational materials and programming will supplement the interactive, with the goal of expanding the Museum’s influence outside its walls and engaging a wider audience.

Please stay tuned as dates are finalized for the Little City Builder interactive!