Civic Landscapes

In 2012 and 2013, PennPraxis worked with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) and more than 100 key stakeholders to zero in on potential sites in in Philadelphia most worthy of becoming the next generation of “civic landscapes.” PHS has made an indelible mark in the public space of Philadelphia, including well known projects such as the Azalea Garden and Logan Square, as well as lesser-known, but equally beneficial greening projects elsewhere in the city. As PHS looked ahead to their 200th birthday, they sought to find what places could make a big, positive impact on key places in the city and highlight Philadelphia’s unique sense of place.

PennPraxis worked with PHS to conduct research and focus stakeholder outreach surrounding the development of potential key sites. The guiding principles for the sites included creating spaces that could be enjoyed by everyone and that redefine what people---tourists and residents alike---expect from urban landscapes.

Through the outreach process, the seven sites that rose to the top included:

  1. North Broad (Diamond St. to Spring Garden St.)
  2. Central Broad (Spring Garden St. to South St)
  3. South Broad (South St. to Passyunk Ave.)
  4. Vine Street (Benjamin Franklin Bridge/5th St. to 20th St.)
  5. Northeast Corridor (Amtrak/SEPTA rail corridor through North Philadelphia)
  6. West Girard Avenue (29th St. to 41st St.)
  7. Airport (PHL/ I-95)

Each of these identified sites could include multiple projects at a variety of scales, and with varying themes. Some could focus more on making a positive impression ("image-makers"), fostering a sense of place ("place-makers"), or improving neighborhood connections and quality of life ("partner-makers").

Following the unveiling of the seven sites, PHS will continue to work with communities and partner organizations over the next 15 years to determine where PHS involvement could add value and actually bring projects to fruition.