First Prize: $5,000!
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.
About the Better Philadelphia Challenge Founded in 2006 in memory of Philadelphia’s iconic 20th century city planner, Ed Bacon [1910-2005], this annual competition challenges university-level students (undergraduate, graduate, and PhD 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. This challenge is organized by the Ed Bacon Memorial Committee of the Center for Architecture and Design.