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Four Design Grants Delivered for South Philly

Over the holidays, the Collaborative’s sleigh was full for South Philly. We wrapped up four design grants to enhance open space, wellness, and key corridors in South Philadelphia. One of the grants has already led to project funding.

Columbus Square Park | Conceptual Design for Park Improvements Columbus Square Park Advisory Council and Passyunk Square Civic Association

  • The conceptual design proposes a new entrance at 12th and Reed.


Two athletic fields occupy two-thirds of this busy South Philadelphia park. The Collaborative helped neighborhood park users work with public agencies to envision a greener, more diversified park. We wrapped up a conceptual design for Columbus Square Park in early January. Just weeks later, the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation presented the design to the larger community.  At the January 30 meeting, the agency also announced that Councilman Mark Squilla has committed $300,000 for design and engineering fees for construction documents for the park. The plan will reduce athletic fields by 25% and demolish an underutilized storage building, to free up space for a new entrance, more pathways, an expanded dog park, and a communal “lawn” and “patio.”

South Philly Food Co-op | Programming and Advisory Services South Philly Food Co-op and Fair Food

  • South Philly Food Co-op


The Collaborative’s volunteer team provided a set of practical tools to help a new food-co-op select a site for a member-owned grocery store. The team outlined the space requirements and best flow for retail, support, and staff space—and evaluated zoning, building, plumbing, and accessibility code requirements. In addition, they tested the fit between the co-op and several prospective sites.

4th Street Historic Fabric Row | Conceptual Design for Streetscape and Façade Improvements South Street Headhouse District and Central Philadelphia Development Center

  • Making Fabric Row more "fab" with lighting, color, and texture.


The Collaborative helped Fabric Row envision streetscape improvements that celebrate its unique history and attract new visitors and creative industries. New lighting adds rhythm to the street and glow to the upper stories of shops. A “kit of parts” brings activity and color with window boxes, café tables, and shapely stands and barrels for displaying merchandise. Old trolley poles become sculptural elements. New bumpouts create space for planters, bike racks, and benches. Crosswalks and bumpouts are paved or painted with textile-inspired patterns.

Bainbridge Green | Conceptual Design for Open Space Improvements Friends of Bainbridge Green and Queen Village Neighbors Association

  • Each plaza gets its own personality in this conceptual design.


Bainbridge Green, once a public market, then a linear park, and then a place to park when visiting South Street—wanted to reclaim some of its green heritage. The Collaborative’s conceptual design outlines a way to expand its worn traffic islands and seating areas. The conceptual design presented four interlinked community plazas with bluestone paving, chairs and tables, seatwalls, planters, fountains, or sculptures. The plazas will also have a hidden asset—underground stormwater detention/infiltration basins.

A renewed Bainbridge Green will strengthen the link between South Street and Fabric Row, the recent focus of a related design grant by the Collaborative. Plan Philly reports that the plan will get a public reveal at the Bainbridge Green Festival on May 10 in "New vision for public space at Bainbridge Green."
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