Better Philadelphia Challenge 2016

Submission: October 23, 2015
Registration:  October 01, 2015
Language: English
Location: Philadelphia, USA
Prizes: Two first Prizes: $5,000 each
Type: Open


Better Philadelphia Challenge is an urban design competition open to individuals anywhere in the world. We are doubling the size of the competition by opening it up to professionals for the first time. Twice the entrants, twice the prizes! College student and professional entries will be judged separately, with a $5,000 First Prize for each. Organize a team today!

The Mantua/Belmont section of Philadelphia was chosen as one of President Obama’s first “Promise Zones” for economic development – one of only five in the country. This neighborhood is bordered by some of Philadelphia’s largest institutions (the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, the Philadelphia Zoo, and Fairmount Park), as well as by large industrial sites (most notably the AMTRAK rail yards). As part of this neighborhood’s development, what physical design interventions could encourage healthy and active lifestyles, thereby improving public health among residents?

Registration is FREE and open to all (yes, even to teachers and administrators!). Registering does NOT obligate you to participate – the process simply ensures that you receive all competition-related materials as they are made public, including helpful resources and the Official Competition Packet (with full rules and regulations) on October 2nd, the day the competition officially launches. This year’s competition is open to matriculating college-level students (undergraduate, graduate, + PhD) as well as to professionals (design-related or not)! As you begin thinking about this challenge, be sure to consider:

Health + Activity

What types of health and activity concerns will your proposal address: obesity, mental health, violence, food access, asthma, a combination of these or other issues? Consider how we could measure the success of your proposal. What could be quantified and how? Are there non-quantifiable benefits that could somehow be captured? By what mechanisms? City of Philadelphia Health Data

The Grand Vision

How will you address the overall design of the full competition site? What design philosophies will guide your proposal? Which residents will your plan affect – young, old, parents, students, unemployed, retired? Show us your Master Plan and the timed phasing of how you would implement your proposal! Proposed Competition Site Boundaries | Lancaster Avenue Revitalization Plan

The Small Scale

How will your plan will impact residents in their daily lives? Show us a detail of your plan – perhaps one or two blocks, a major intersection, or a section of the boundary between the neighborhood and its surroundings to explain the real-life impact of your plan on residents. Show us a day in the life of a few residents, both before and after your interventions! Mantua/Belmont Economic + Social Statistics

Additional Resources for Research:

AIA National’s Healthy Communities Report | Mantua Organizations | UPenn’s Campus Compact | Drexel’s Urban Design + Health Project | Drexel’s Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships | the Mantua Promise Zone

We STRONGLY encourage proposals from diverse teams that include individuals from a variety of fields: architecture, urban planning, design (industrial, graphic, etc.), landscape architecture, public health, economic development, real estate law, or other fields which might bring innovative ideas to your proposal. Proposals from diverse teams have historically done best in this competition.

For more information on the Better Philadelphia Challenge, including summaries of past competitions and images of winning entries, please visit: www.edbacon.org. Information in this brief in preliminary and details may change.

Go to the competition’s website