University City's Victorian-era cemetery is actually doing some cool things - Generocity Philly

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Jul. 12, 2016 10:01 am

University City’s Victorian-era cemetery is actually doing some cool things

The Woodlands is absorbing the innovative spirit of the thousands of dead artists and entrepreneurs it houses.

Cemeteries can innovate, too.

(Photo by Flickr user Karen Christine Hibbard, used under a Creative Commons license)

Historic cemeteries do not typically fit the “hotbed of innovation” mold. The Woodlands, University City’s 54-acre, Victorian-era graveyard-slash-park-slash-landmark, could be an exception to the rule.

According to a blog post from nonprofit consultancy Fairmount Ventures, the formerly fenced-off public space that approximately 32,000 early American corpses call home began a re-envisioning process in 2012.

(PlanPhilly published a neat piece on the history of the space in 2009).

“Fairmount [Ventures] embarked on a discovery phase including in-depth research and data analysis to test the leadership’s hypothesis that a focus on community access would, in fact, positively impact the site’s historical authenticity,” the post reads.

Read the full blog post

All jokes aside, The Woodlands is yet another example of how historic institutions are being reinvented as public spaces.

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