Landscaping the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Hawthorne Park

  • July 17, 2008

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway was designed by French urban planner Jacques Gréber in the early 1900s to emulate the Champs-Élysées in Paris, and it has become one of the city's proudest accomplishments. The pastoral, tree-lined boulevard which connects City Hall to the vast greenery of Fairmount Park is now home to many of the region's most important cultural institutions and hosts popular festivals, races and other mass gatherings.

However, the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, The Pew Charitable Trusts and other stakeholders have recognized that the Parkway should be more attractive, convenient and friendly for pedestrians, bicyclists and other public use. Recent improvements—including new lighting, installation of sculptures and renovations to Logan Square and Aviator Park—have been helping to make the Parkway an increasingly appealing place. A fuller makeover is now within reach and will help the Parkway realize its full potential. The planned construction of a new home for the Barnes Foundation's artwork on the site of the Youth Study Center makes this a particularly opportune time to invest in the Parkway.

Plans are also in place to develop a neighborhood park in the city's Hawthorne section, where a high-rise public housing project has been recently replaced with an attractive, mixed-income townhouse development.