| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter RSS Feed

Development News

PHS to host nationwide Civic Horticulture conference in May

This spring, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) is bringing together prominent landscape architects and civic horticulture enthusiasts for a three-day conference showcasing Philly landscapes. The event will launch Friday, May 17 in Center City.  
The conference, Civic Horticulture -- which is being held in conjunction with the Cultural Landscape Foundation -- will feature nationally recognized speakers discussing how Philadelphia has used civic horticulture (a discipline that bridges aesthetics, economics and ecological systems) to successfully shape the city's urban resurgence.
"The conference builds off what we've done to transform the city's public spaces," says Drew Becher, president of PHS. "A lot of the speakers have never been to Philly, so this gives us an opportunity to show how other places can learn from our example."
Free expert-led tours will follow the conference. Dubbed What’s Out There Weekendthis series of tours will showcase more than two dozen significant examples of Philadelphia's standout landscape architecture, including hidden gems in Fairmount Park, on the grounds of the Rodin Museum and at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  
The conference will take place in tandem with the unofficial unveiling of a draft form of PHS’s new civic landscapes plan for Philadelphia, developed with PennPraxis. The plan is the first of its kind in over 20 years.
"In the late '80s or early '90s, a plan was completed that laid out landscape projects in and around Center City," explains Becher. "More recently, we looked at the plan and said, 'Wow, we completed a lot of the projects.' We decided a new plan was needed."
The new plan, which is still months away from being completed, includes proposals that are divided into three categories: image makers, place makers and partner makers.

With place and partner makers, improvements will be made to specific neighborhoods or significant plazas -- this is where small moves and neighborhood partnerships can make a big difference. Implementing a pocket park or a streetscape improvement program are examples of work in this category.
Image maker improvements, meanwhile, aim to improve the look and feel of major transportation areas and corridors in the city. Areas of interest include Philadelphia International Airport, Amtrak’s northeast corridor rail line in North Philadelphia, Girard Avenue over the Schuylkill River, Vine Street in Center City and Broad Street from Passyunk Avenue up to Temple University.
For these corridors, improvements could include illumination enhancements, gateway and signage improvements, art and object installations, planting and surfacing improvements, or landform creations and creative screening.
"[At the conference in May], we will introduce the many ideas in the plan and begin to reach out to the public for feedback," adds Becher. "From there, we’ll put together a cohesive plan and begin its implementation." Extensive public outreach is expected to begin in earnest in September.

Source: Drew Becher, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
WriterGreg Meckstroth
Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts