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Tiny But Titanic

  • Titan Park's renewal will have a big impact on surrounding blocks.

Titan Park is a remnant of a classic 70’s pocket park. It occupies less than 1,000 square feet at the corner of Titan and Howard Streets in South Philadelphia’s Pennsport neighborhood. The pocket park has a biker’s aesthetic:  concrete paving, highway guardrails, and a circular pedestal that once held a motorcycle.

When the City took steps to sell the tiny park to a developer a few years ago, neighbors rallied to form Friends of Titan Park. The group and neighboring Friends of Manton Street Park saw potential in Titan Park as a shared “green oasis” where residents could gather, relax, and play. They came to the Collaborative to develop a compelling, largely DIY plan for renewing the park.

  • Titan Park today.

The Collaborative’s design team came up with the following strategies for greening and sustaining Titan Park.

Make improvements that manage stormwater. The conceptual design includes improvements that support the citywide push for green stormwater management—creating a better park in the process. Portions of the existing concrete surface would be replaced with bands of permeable pavers to absorb runoff. Shade trees in tree trenches would be added along the sidewalk.

Blur the lines. Titan Park is located on a corner, edged by sidewalks and streets and two adjacent homes. These edges can be engaged to extend the park. The proposed bands of permeable pavers could extend across Titan Street to calm traffic. Multi-stemmed trees like Heritage Birches inside the park would blend with new street trees along the sidewalk.  An arbor and trellis would green the walls of the two adjacent homes.

Embrace DIY. Focus on community-led temporary measures to activate the space and get the momentum going for bigger improvements.

Think in zones. Even a small park can have several personalities. The street edges would be the Civic Zone, where new infrastructure (street trees, tree trenches) benefits both park users and pedestrians. The midsection would be the Active Zone, with reconfigurable play spaces, tables, and chairs.  The back of the park would be the Quiet Zone, with a green arbor and trellis and chunky built-in benches.

  • Even small parks can benefit from thinking in zones.

Clients Friends of Titan Park Friends of Manton Park

Volunteer Team Kim Douglas, ASLA, RLA Sarah Endriss, ASLA Alexandra Zahn, ASLA C. Erickson & Sons, Patrick Snoke


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