Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Sustainable Future for Philadelphia

By Greg

For five years now I have chaired the board of The Ed Bacon Foundation, a nonprofit organization that for the past four years has hosted a student urban design competition. This competition challenges students across North America to focus on a site in Philadelphia that needs some innovative new ideas. This year we have taken the program to the next level through a partnership with the Philadelphia Center for Architecture, which co-hosted this year’s competition.

This year the competition was an urban sustainability design challenge. Titled "Brown to Green," it focused on a site in the Grays Ferry neighborhood of South Philadelphia that has been home to the DuPont Marshall Laboratory. DuPont recently vacated this massive piece of land along the Schuylkill River, creating the potential for an innovative new vision for this property's green future. Students all over North America have submitted their concepts for remaking this important site to have a productive and sustainable future. An expert jury recently assessed the entries, and selected some outstanding designs to receive $6,000 in prizes.

I am inviting you to join us in honoring the student winners at an awards ceremony on Tuesday December 8th. This event is always rewarding for me. It is rare that we can step back and look at big-picture ideas offered by young, creative minds from across North America. Once a year, this program gives us such an opportunity. In addition, it is about bringing the eyes of the nation’s top design students to Philadelphia. Speaking with the student winners in the past, it is clear that Philadelphia is not on many students’ radar screens outside the region; this program has been a venue for changing that.

Each year when we announce and honor the student winners, we also bestow the Edmund N. Bacon Prize on a national figure in urban development, design, or thought. This year the Prize recipient and keynote speaker will be
Maurice Cox, Director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts and former mayor of Charlottesville, VA. Mr. Cox has been a dynamic leader at the NEA, and a champion for exposing elected officials to the importance of design issues. He is a speaker not to be missed!

I hope you will join us on December 8th, help us honor the student winners, spend an evening with Maurice Cox, enjoy a nice dinner, and celebrate the potential for building a bright future for our city. Full details are available here:
http://edbacon.org/browntogreen/ceremony.htm. Thanks for your support. I hope to see you on December 8th!

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