A Revolution in the Streets of Historic Philadelphia

Course Details

The 250th anniversary of American independence, or semiquincentennial, will be celebrated nationwide in 2026. As the city of Philadelphia prepares to welcome visitors arriving to commemorate 250 years of shared history, it faces a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine how the streets of its oldest neighborhood can support equitable mobility, place making, historical interpretation, and economic development.

Despite their historic nature, the streets of Old City have not escaped the auto-oriented priorities of previous planning eras. The Vision for Historical Philadelphia identifies physical strategies for improving connectivity, mobility, and programming throughout one of the nation’s most cherished historic districts. Expanded pedestrian space and improved mobility infrastructure offer innovative methods for establishing a welcoming, understandable environment for tourists and residents who are rediscovering the district.

When implemented, the plan will facilitate equitable mobility throughout the neighborhood, improve connectivity to adjacent neighborhoods, and provide new spaces that support place making and interpretive programs that are integral to the district’s significance and economic vitality.

Learning Outcomes

  • Evaluate the potential for different street typologies to contribute to place making, historical interpretation, and non-traditional entrepreneurship within public rights-of-way.
  • Identify opportunities to improve urban street design that better supports inclusive mobility, with emphases on pedestrians, bicycles, micro-mobility, and transit.
  • Use a vision-based planning framework to build consensus among constituents and stakeholders that includes identifying catalytic projects and fundraising priorities.