Fall 2011: Penn Park’s Landscape Architect Plans To Save Rainwater


The brand-new 24-acre development at the Western bank of the Schuylkill River between Walnut and South Streets in University City has been dubbed Penn Park, as many fans already know. Besides obvious reasons for building the park, the idea behind this development is to better connect University City and Center City; the park will add an impressive 20 percent more green space to the University of Pennsylvania’s campus.

A variety of different trees have been chosen to be planted at the site and landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh (MVVA won a competition to develop the river-front park system of Toronto’s Lower Don Lands) also added room for a 12-court tennis center, a softball stadium, a natural grass hockey field, three sprinturf fields (synthetic turf) and an enclosed seasonal air structure, which will allow for wintertime use of the courts. In addition to these impressive amenities, there will also be an elevated walkway for pedestrians to make their way around the site as well as designated spots for views of the skyline. Staying true to the green scheme, Penn Park will be equipped with a storm management system that will divert rain underground, which will then provide the water for the park’s irrigation system; the park will also be lit with energy efficient lights.

The park is set to open in early fall of this year and we couldn’t be more excited. Any positive use of space in this city is refreshing and it seems as though Penn Park’s future is very energy-efficiently bright.