Imagine tiered wooden platforms mixed with mingling flowers, reds, blues and yellows, among planters and vine canopies; bright, custom-made swings; and rotisserie cooked meals. All of these are among the first wave of permanent fixtures at The Porch, the excellent public space in front of 30th Street Station.

Created four years ago by reimagining how to better use some parking spaces and a slab of concrete, The Porch has become one of the city's most recognizable outdoor spaces. Last month, University City District revealed plans for the Porch 2.0. When we visited the other day, we discovered a much improved model.

In the past

Recent view

Another shot

The most recent designs sprung from a variety of sources: Groundswell Design Group, who did Spruce Street Harbor Park and Morgan's Pier, designed the landscaping. San Francisco-based Gehl Studio is behind the swings. Rotisserie at the Porch will be a permanent food truck, envisioned by Michael Schulson (Sampan, Graffiti Bar, etc.), offering fresh roasted eats each day, as well as booze Wednesdays through Saturdays from 4 to 9pm.

Project renderings always seem to look fancier than real life

From rotating food trucks, performances, to a play-me-anyone piano painted by a local artist, beer garden and miniature golf, to a landscaped fence during construction at 30th Street Station, thus far, events and retailers at The Porch have showed the location's versatility and potential for animation. When it first launched, it was with a small grant, and plans to improve in phases, as money came. And eventually it did. We're thrilled to see the continuing evolution here- we now find ourselves hopeful for a delay the next time we need to take a train out of town. We wouldn't be sad to wait it out at The Porch.