Imagining Philadelphia: Edmund Bacon and the Future of the City

Imagining Philadelphia: Edmund Bacon and the Future of the City

by Scott Gabriel Knowles
     
 

ISBN-10: 0812220781

ISBN-13: 9780812220780

Pub. Date: 12/09/2009

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.

When Philadelphia's iconoclastic city planner Edmund N. Bacon looked into his crystal ball in 1959, he saw a remarkable vision: "Philadelphia as an unmatched expression of the vitality of American technology and culture." In that year Bacon penned an essay for Greater Philadelphia Magazine, originally entitled "Philadelphia in the Year 2009," in which he

Overview

When Philadelphia's iconoclastic city planner Edmund N. Bacon looked into his crystal ball in 1959, he saw a remarkable vision: "Philadelphia as an unmatched expression of the vitality of American technology and culture." In that year Bacon penned an essay for Greater Philadelphia Magazine, originally entitled "Philadelphia in the Year 2009," in which he imagined a city remade, modernized in time to host the 1976 Philadelphia World's Fair and Bicentennial celebration, an event that would be a catalyst for a golden age of urban renewal.

What Bacon did not predict was the long, bitter period of economic decline, population dispersal, and racial confrontation that Philadelphia was about to enter. As such, his essay comes to us as a time capsule, a message from one of the city's most influential and controversial shapers that prompts discussions of what was, what might have been, and what could yet be in the city's future.

Imagining Philadelphia brings together Bacon's original essay, reprinted here for the first time in fifty years, and a set of original essays on the past, present, and future of urban planning in Philadelphia. In addition to examining Bacon and his motivations for writing the piece, the essays assess the wider context of Philadelphia's planning, architecture, and real estate communities at the time, how city officials were reacting to economic decline, what national precedents shaped Bacon's faith in grand forms of urban renewal, and whether or not it is desirable or even possible to adopt similarly ambitious visions for contemporary urban planning and economic development. The volume closes with a vision of what Philadelphia might look like fifty years from now.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812220780
Publisher:
University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
Publication date:
12/09/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
184
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Revisiting Edmund Bacon's Vision for the City
1 Philadelphia in the Year 2009
—Edmund N. Bacon
2 Salesman of Ideas: The Life Experiences That Shaped Edmund Bacon
—Gregory L. Heller
3 A Utopian, a Utopianist, or Whatever the Heck It Is: Edmund Bacon and the Complexity of the City
—Guian McKee
4 Staying Too Long at the Fair: Philadelphia Planning and the Debacle of 1976
—Scott Gabriel Knowles
5 Philadelphia in the Year 2059
—Harris M. Steinberg
Afterword
—Eugenie L. Birch

Notes
List of Contributors
Index
Acknowledgments

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