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Urban Remix Design Charrette Recap

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On November 16, 2012, the Urban Remix Design Charrette and Reveal brought together nearly one hundred people from the fields of design, economic and community development, public policy, and neighborhood leadership to envision the future at 46th and Market Streets.

The charrette was done in partnership between the Community Design Collaborative, LISC Philadelphia, AIA Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Water Department, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The charrette took place as part of Design on the Delaware 2012, a regional professional development conference for architects, landscape architects, urban planners, and other design professionals.

Urban Remix focused on the blocks surrounding the recently-renovated 46th and Market transit station. With improved transit access and substantial real estate ready for something new, this area is experiencing a wave of development.

The future headquarters of the Philadelphia Police Department and the new Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Karabots Center, Youth Study Center, and West Philadelphia High School will join longstanding community institutions like the Enterprise Center, Community College of Philadelphia, West Philadelphia Catholic High School, and Kirkbride Center.

This could all add up to a new health and human services district that nourishes both citywide consumers as well as businesses and residents nearby. But how can this complicated swath of West Philadelphia—cut up by urban-renewal-era superblocks, a few grand 19th century institutions, and the elevated Market-Frankford Line itself—get its groove back?

Charrette teams were assigned to explore different sections of the district, with an additional team charged with enhancing its existing network of open and public spaces. This called for an extra dose of collaboration during the day.

The ideas proposed by the four teams overlapped very well. They included options for early actions, first-phase public-private partnerships, and projects that could serve as catalysts for longer-term partnerships and planning.

Stay tuned in 2013 for a conceptual master plan that synthesizes the work from  the charrette. In the meantime, here’s a sampling of ideas presented at the reveal:

  • An "under the El” art installation to bridge the district north and south of Market Street. Generous curbless bump outs ensure a safe, accessible crossing.


  • This open space network plan that contains many concepts: a green promenade created from a swath of land alongside the Providence Mutual Insurance building,complete streets for 46th and 48th streets, and a gently-sloping greenway for Westpark.


  • In this conceptual plan for the west section of the district above Market, a green gathering space is carved out at the tip of 49th and Haverford to allow for safer crossing at a tricky intersection and to soften the long expanse of stone wall that surrounds Kirkbride Center. A food truck court is also proposed within easy reach of the 46th and Market Station.





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