November 6, 2017 by Patrick J. Morgan
Photo by Fairmount Park on Twitter.
Saturday, Knight Foundation announced $3.28 million in new support to Fairmount Conservancy to support a citywide civic engagement strategy that will allow residents to shape activities in Philadelphia’s public spaces.
It’s an essential time for communities to invest in places and spaces that bring us together. A neighborhood public library, park or recreation center are often the places where strangers come together, where we learn about each other, and where neighbors and local decision-makers meet to create a better community. Recent research by the Center for Active Design validates that public spaces can help to facilitate community connection, trust and involvement.
March 17, 2016 by Patrick J. Morgan
Photo: Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. Courtesy VisitPhilly.com
Recently, Lonely Planet named Philadelphia the best place to visit in the United States in 2016. Last year, it was recognized as the country's first and only World Heritage City, and The New York Times named the city as one of the top places to visit, due mostly to public space projects such as the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk and Dilworth Park. Philadelphia is being recognized as a thriving global city.
Given this strength, it is no surprise that Philadelphia is the pilot city for Reimagining the Civic Commons, an initiative funded last year by Knight Foundation and the William Penn Foundation. This month we celebrate the one-year anniversary of that announcement.
Reimagining the Civic Commons is a new approach for enhancing Philadelphia’s parks, recreation centers and libraries. To support five model projects, Knight invested $5.4 million through the Fairmount Park Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that exists to champion Philadelphia’s park system, to support five model projects, each in a transitioning neighborhood on the periphery of Center City. William Penn provided another another $6 million towards the initiative, in addition to more than $20 million already invested in the projects from other sources. Philadelphia intends to be the first comprehensive demonstration of how a connected set of civic assets – a civic commons – can yield increased prosperity for cities and neighborhoods.
The projects include a riverfront bike and pedestrian trail, a renovated public library and park space, an elevated park, an outdoor youth education center, and a new vision for West Fairmount Park. A mix of local and national nonprofits, business improvement districts and city agencies are leading the projects on the ground.
July 15, 2016 by Patrick J. Morgan