Old City Vision2026

Vision2026, our recently completed master plan for the Old City District received recognition in the April 13 issue of The Architects Newspaper and in Inga Saffron’s April 22 Changing Skyline article for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

With the economy and pace of construction improving in Old City, a new set of comprehensive goals and design standards were needed to guide development. Old City District, a 15 year-old Business Improvement District, commissioned planning consultants RBA Group and Atkin Olshin Schade Architects to develop a master plan to better serve Old City and to determine how to take advantage of underutilized spaces. The Master Plan will be used as a supplement to Philadelphia’s Central District area plan, Philadelphia 2035.

Vision2026 takes a holistic view to assess the potential for underutilized lots, preservation of historic sites, desired pedestrian amenities, and improved civic identity strategies. Programming and design charrettes conducted as part of neighborhood workshops determined that the neighborhood lacked a grocery store, affordable residential opportunities, co-share work-space, bike lanes and dedicated pedestrian thoroughfares, and recognizable gateways that denoted neighborhood transition zones.

As part of the master plan, one site identified under the Benjamin Franklin Bridge was determined to be a visible portal to the neighborhood. Our team considered this site to be an ideal location for pop-up arts and flea market events. Using cost-effective shipping containers to house public restrooms, offices and shops, the area could be quickly and effectively identified as a 2nd Street gateway to the vibrant Old City District.