How City Hall's new courtyard will reflect Philly's neighborhoods - Generocity Philly

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Apr. 18, 2016 10:44 am

How City Hall’s new courtyard will reflect Philly’s neighborhoods

A $200,000 grant from Southwest Airlines will turn the courtyard into an "engaging civic commons" informed by the city's communities.

This will look different.

(Photo by Flickr user Peter M Graham, used under a Creative Commons license)

Mayor Jim Kenney‘s administration has focused on investing in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods since before he took office. Yet, a new project to renovate City Hall’s courtyard as an “engaging civic commons” is underway.

Here’s the compromise: Funded by a $200,000 grant from Southwest Airlines and spearheaded by the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia, the Planning Commission, the Department of Public Policy, nonprofit Project for Public Spaces and the Water Department, the project will be influenced by a “placemaking'” process reliant on community engagement.

“We’re really hoping it’s the type of project that pays attention to the fact that Center City is the meeting place of so many parts and cultures of the city,” said Chief Grants Officer and Mayor’s Fund Executive Director Ashley Del Bianco. “The idea is to create a flexible type of space that would allow for different uses.”

Ultimately, Del Bianco said, the grant will lead to actual physical infrastructure improvements, but the grant from Southwest is for “interactive programming,” according to a release from the Mayor’s Fund. That’s the programming that will involve the community at large.

The improvements made by the grant will roll out over the next couple months into the outdoor season, she said.

“It’s conceivable that there might be some type of series of events that would be hosted to kick things off, but it would also be maybe a space that’s more passive and able to be used by passing community members,” said Del Bianco.

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