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Making the World Better at Waterloo

Waterloo Recreation Center: Reclaimed and well-kept with the potential to become a greener, multi-generational play space.
Winner | Waterloo Rebosante, roofmeadow and Studio Ludo

Waterloo Recreation Center, one of three sites that were the focus of our Play Space design competition, has received $200,000 from the Make the World Better Foundation to kick off renovations. 

The Waterloo Recreation Center was cobbled together in 1955 from vacant land and the former Waterloo Street. It has more than once been closed due to drug-related crime and vandalism. The resilient community has most recently reclaimed their space through a City Council, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, and nonprofit-led effort which has transformed and successfully re-opened the center. It’s now a daily destination for West Kensington kids again, a place they can depend on for mentorship and fun.

Their dedication made Waterloo Recreation Center an ideal focus for our Play Space design competition. We received 14 competition entries envisioning how to make Waterloo greener and more multi-generational. The design competition showed Waterloo’s potential and why it merited further reinvestment.

Now, Waterloo is taking another giant step. It has received $200,000 from the Make the World Better Foundation, proceeds from the foundation's third annual benefit concert at Union Transfer on June 3. Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Connor Barwin created the Make the World Better Foundation to bring together the artistic and athletic communities in Philadelphia in order to spark positive change in the city. The foundation has has raised nearly $700,000 to support Philly park renovations over the past three years.

“I want to thank Union Transfer for hosting us for a third year in a row,” said Barwin. “The concert is always very exciting to me because it represents the start of a new project, this year Waterloo Playground.”

The Philadelphia Tribune reported on the concert and what will happen next: "'The revitalization of Waterloo Playground will begin with a community engagement process to identify key priorities for renovations, building off of the Community Design Collaborative’s Play Space design competition that featured this site as a case study last year,' said Claire Laver, director of Strategic Partnerships and Projects for the Make the World Better Foundation and Urban Roots."

Finalist | Reclaiming Recreation by Ramla Benaissa Architects
Finalist | Community Gifts by Shift Landscape Architecture.


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