What Happens When You Ask Citizens to Critique a New City Park – Next City

What Happens When You Ask Citizens to Critique a New City Park

We asked six Dilworth Park visitors to critique the Philadelphia renovation.

Editor’s note: Last week we told you about Philadelphia’s stunning remake of the plaza surrounding City Hall, a $55 million public-private partnership project that created a space that will be managed by local economic development non-profit Center City District. Now that the grand-opening hubbub has died down and the new Dilworth Park has been assessed by the city newspaper’s architecture critic — “Dilworth Park has many irresistible features, but it’s stiff, uncomfortable,” wrote the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Inga Saffron — and received mixed reviews from other local media, we sent photographer Jessica Kourkounis to ask people using the space what they think of the makeover.

Tallulah Lastufka, 10, left, and Ambrose Bucy, 12, who were visiting from Alaska for a wedding

Why did you come here today?
We are cutting through City Hall to get to the Reading Terminal Market.

Did you regularly use the plaza before the renovation?
No.

What do you think of the new space?
We think it’s pretty awesome! I like the glass, and the fountains are cool.

Alexandra Dodson, 20, Drexel student

Why did you come here today?
I work across the street so it’s kind of an oasis.

Did you regularly use the plaza before the renovation?
No, I started working nearby during the renovations.

What do you think of the new space?
I like it … it’s a little dry. It’s very concrete. I’m enjoying the space, it’s just not very soft.

Bob Varghese, 55, from Philly

Why did you come here today?
I work in City Hall.

Did you regularly use the plaza before the renovation?
Yes, at lunch.

What do you think of the new space?
It’s really nice and spacious. I’m enjoying the open air. It’s relaxing, a big improvement.

Edmund Deeter, 60, from Malvern, Pa.

Why did you come here today?
I read a great Inquirer article, a little critical of the SEPTA entranceways. My office is at 2 Logan so I took the opportunity to come and people-watch and look at the structure.

Did you regularly use the plaza before the renovation?
No.

What do you think of the new space?
I think it’s really cool. Obviously it combines a very Philadelphia-type structure with modern overtones. The water is very peaceful. I think it softens all the stone here.

Clara Lefton, 24, lives in Philly

Why did you come here today?
I had some extra time before an appointment so I thought I’d come check out the park.

Did you regularly use the plaza before the renovation?
No, the whole time I’ve lived here it has been under construction.

What do you think of the new space?
I’m excited about it! Philly is always trying to compete with other East Coast cities and I think this helps. It’s a cleaner, nicer space. I think they’re doing a good job with it.

Barbara Walker, 60, lives in Philly

Why did you come here today?
I was told it was open and I came to view it.

Did you regularly use the plaza before the renovation?
No.

What do you think of the new space?
It looks fantastic! It really looks super, the atmosphere is just great.

Jessica Kourkounis is a Philadelphia-based freelance photographer. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post.

Tags: philadelphiaurban designparks

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