When William Penn founded the colony of Pennsylvania in 1682, he created a visionary plan for its principal city, Philadelphia, and the immediate surrounding region. Over the past 325 years Penn’s plan of the city has been modified by many individuals to reflect an evolving vision of a city both beautiful and practical.
The Planning of Center City Philadelphia: From William Penn to the Present traces these three centuries of planning history, from Penn’s original concept to the design of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway–one of the significant monuments of the City Beautiful movement in the United States–to the mid-20th century urban renewal efforts that made Philadelphia a national leader in city planning and urban revitalization. Richly illustrated with historic maps and photographs, the book also includes brief biographical sketches of nine Philadelphians who have contributed significantly to the practice of city planning, including Paul Philippe Cret, Edmund N. Bacon, David A. Wallace, and Denise Scott Brown. Also included are five walking tours of Center City, where the results of this planning history can be seen and experienced most easily: Old City, Society Hill, City Hall East, City Hall West (Penn Center), and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
The tours contain easily readable maps as well as photographs and descriptions of the most significant architectural landmarks in each area.
John Andrew Gallery has been a member of Philadelphia’s community development and historic preservation community for close to fifty years. From 2002 to 2013, he was Executive Director of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, where he advocated for the city’s historic built environment. He is the author of Philadelphia Architecture, A Guide to the City and editor of Sacred Sites of Center City, also available from Paul Dry Books.