Reimagining the Civic Commons: Philadelphia Overview

Produced in 2016, this video provides an overview of investments completed as part of the Reimagining the Civic Commons pilot demonstration in Philadelphia.

The three-year investment by Knight Foundation and William Penn Foundation is a pilot effort to draw Philadelphia’s leading nonprofit public space operators into a collaborative network, led by Fairmount Park Conservancy, to reimagine the civic commons.

In 2015, Knight Foundation and William Penn Foundation invested $11 million to create a “civic commons collective” of five model projects in Philadelphia. As the first Reimagining the Civic Commons location, Philadelphia serves as a living laboratory, with participating leaders and organizations spending three years exploring new ideas and piloting new strategies to inspire cities across the country.

The five newly reimagined civic assets are located in neighborhoods outside of Center City and include a riverfront bike and pedestrian trail, a renovated public library and park space, an elevated park, a nature center/outdoor youth education center, and new active and passive recreation improvements for West Fairmount Park.

The public, non-profit and private sector organizations working together in Philadelphia as the Civic Commons Collective are fostering a collaborative environment among the city’s community network, while repurposing and repositioning pieces of the city’s existing urban infrastructure as new civic amenities.

Civic leaders in Philadelphia are building on initial success with significant new funding in the form of a sweetened beverage tax, which will leverage $48 million in resources for a $300 million bond to fund significant capital investments in parks, recreation centers, libraries and other community infrastructure.