Updating and Improving Philadelphia's Downtown Plazas

Three public plazas in the center of Philadelphia are set to see much-needed makeovers, and soon.

The three plazas are near City Hall, and for years have been seen as unsuccessful public spaces. But new efforts to lure people downtown are focusing attention on these plazas as better amenities for the city.

"The changes under discussion have the potential to radically transform a governmental no-man's land into a big-city version of a town square. Dilworth and JFK (a.k.a. LOVE Park) would be made into softer, more parklike settings featuring lawns, cafes, and a skating rink. The forlorn plateau on the east side of the Municipal Services Building (officially, Reyburn Plaza) would be eliminated altogether and marketed as a hotel site.

In terms of ambition, the combined renovation effort could rival the recent overhaul of Independence Mall, a '60s-era project that was recast in a gentler, if imperfect, form. But more is at stake at this end of Center City because the plazas sit at the epicenter of Philadelphia's daily life: the juncture where the city's downtown office core, transit network, convention district, and an emerging residential neighborhood all come together."

Full Story: Changing Skyline: In play: The soul of the city's center

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