By Scott Gabriel Knowles
When Philadelphia's iconoclastic urban planner Edmund N. Bacon appeared into his crystal ball in 1959, he observed a extraordinary imaginative and prescient: "Philadelphia as an unequalled expression of the energy of yank expertise and culture." In that 12 months Bacon penned an essay for Greater Philadelphia Magazine, initially entitled "Philadelphia within the 12 months 2009," within which he imagined a urban remade, modernized in time to host the 1976 Philadelphia World's reasonable and Bicentennial party, an occasion that may be a catalyst for a golden age of city renewal.
What Bacon didn't are expecting was once the lengthy, sour interval of monetary decline, inhabitants dispersal, and racial war of words that Philadelphia was once approximately to go into. As such, his essay involves us as a time tablet, a message from one of many city's so much influential and debatable shapers that activates discussions of what used to be, what could have been, and what may but be within the city's future.
Imagining Philadelphia brings jointly Bacon's unique essay, reprinted the following for the 1st time in fifty years, and a suite of unique essays at the previous, current, and way forward for city making plans in Philadelphia. as well as interpreting Bacon and his motivations for writing the piece, the essays determine the broader context of Philadelphia's making plans, structure, and actual property groups on the time, how urban officers have been reacting to monetary decline, what nationwide precedents formed Bacon's religion in grand varieties of city renewal, and even if it's fascinating or perhaps attainable to undertake equally formidable visions for modern city making plans and monetary improvement. the quantity closes with a imaginative and prescient of what Philadelphia may perhaps appear like fifty years from now.